Influenza Flu – Possible Pandemic – Shortage of Ventilators – New York Times

Influenza Flu – Possible Pandemic – Shortage of Ventilators – New York Times

It may sound unthinkable — the idea of denying life support to some people in a public health disaster like an epidemic. But a new report says doctors, health care workers and the public need to start thinking about it.

The headline is misleading; it’s not about choosing who gets a vent (everyone who needs one), it about what to do when they’re all in use, and another is needed: who gets taken OFF the vent?

I sincerely hope I’m never in the position to have to make that decision. Knock on wood, and all that.


  1. About two years ago we went through a similar exercise and had a survey sent to all of the surgi-centres. They wanted to know about any ventilators that might be in the clinic. They didn’t seem to be too concerned about the type, age, or state of repair of the ventilator, just whether it existed. Somewhere, in the depths’ of the bowels of our Provincial Government, there is a doomsday list of forgotten and seldom used ventilators that will be brought out in the event of an outbreak. It’s scary as hell and I hope we never need it.

  2. Nice post, and good eye. I linked & expanded a bit over at MedPage Today.



  3. Curious EMT says:

    H5N1 Virus…..ewwwwwe. I guess we’ll see what happens when the virus gets to the human to human transmission phase. Do you think this truly is a issue (H5N1 pandemic)? When speaking of global health events, I’ve heard mostly about the H5N1 virus as compared to other events. Do you think this is because of media attention etc. or is it the most serious threat right now?