Volume 23, Number 4, Winter 2012

Resource Stewardship in Disasters: Alone at the Bedside

Jeffrey T. Berger

The Journal of Clinical Ethics 23, no. 4 (Winter 2012): 336-7.


      Discussions about resource allocation commonly invoke concerns of unfair and variable decisions when physicians ration at the bedside. This concern is no less germane in disaster medicine, in which physicians make triage and allocation decisions under duress, and patients and their families may be challenged to self-advocate. Unfortunately, a real-time mechanism to support a process for ethical decision making may not be available to medical relief workers. Yet, resources for ethics decision support can be important for the moral well-being of the clinician, the ethical integrity of the relief effort, and to bolster the trust and confidence of the population receiving medical services. The need for clinical ethical support should be anticipated in disaster preparedness planning.


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