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Ethical triage during the COVID-19 pandemic: a toolkit for neurosurgical resource allocation

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  • Alexander F C Hulsbergen
  • Marleen M Eijkholt
  • Naci Balak
  • Jannick Brennum
  • Ciarán Bolger
  • Anna-Margarete Bohrer
  • Zeev Feldman
  • Daniel Holsgrove
  • Neil Kitchen
  • Tiit I Mathiesen
  • Wouter A Moojen
  • Nicolás Samprón
  • Martin Sames
  • Ulrika Sandvik
  • Magnus Tisell
  • Marike L D Broekman
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BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic confronts healthcare workers, including neurosurgeons, with difficult choices regarding which patients to treat.

METHODS: In order to assist ethical triage, this article gives an overview of the main considerations and ethical principles relevant when allocating resources in times of scarcity.

RESULTS: We discuss a framework employing four principles: prioritizing the worst off, maximizing benefits, treating patients equally, and promoting instrumental value. We furthermore discuss the role of age and comorbidity in triage and highlight some principles that may seem intuitive but should not form a basis for triage.

CONCLUSIONS: This overview is presented on behalf of the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies and can be used as a toolkit for neurosurgeons faced with ethical dilemmas when triaging patients in times of scarcity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Volume162
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1485-1490
Number of pages6
ISSN0001-6268
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

    Research areas

  • Covid-19, Ethics, Neurosurgery, SARS-CoV-2, Triage

ID: 61677671