Authorities planning for a severe flu outbreak are drawing up rules for life-saving ventilators that instruct doctors to take severely ill patients off life support and give the equipment to those with a better chance of survival. The plan, to be used in an outbreak comparable to the pandemic that killed 50 million in 1918, is being drafted with little input from the public, ProPublica reports.
New York officials are exploring the legal basis for a suspension of the law that bars doctors from removing patients from life support in the case of a public-health emergency. The architects of the plan argue that, especially given the recent “death panel” controversy, it’s difficult to engage the public on this topic. But critics lament that societal input has been absent. “Maybe society will say: ‘We don’t agree with your plan,” said one doctor. “‘You may think it’s ethically OK; we don’t.’”