Allocating Scarce Medical Resources

Whether it is general resources after the implementation of a universal health care scheme or specific resources such as flu vaccine in the early stages of a pandemic,  there will always be instances of scarcity.  Who gets the resources?  Youngest first? Sickest first?  First in?  Lottery winners? Socially useful people?  This article proposes the Complete Lives System.

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  • Rafe Furst

    Ace, can you summarize what Complete Lives Systems and the article says?

  • acebailey

    “This system incorporates five principles: youngest-first, prognosis, save the most lives, lottery, and instrumental value”

    However, youngest first is not an exact description. The case is made that the death of a 2 month old is not the tragedy that the death of a 2 year old that is not the tragedy of a 12 year old. So a curve exists which favors those 15 - 40 years old.

    Prognosis is considered because of the inefficacy of using substantial resources on an adolescent with poor prognosis.

    Saving more lives is obviously superior to saving fewer. instrumental value refers to prioritizing care to those that will later provide more care.

    When similar cases are found then a lottery is the final fair solution.

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