A High Tide for Utilitarianism with the Coronavirus Pandemic


(Mercatornet) – The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us all to make hard decisions. Italy is discovering that it may have too few intensive care units and ventilators for thousands of desperately ill people with breathing difficulties.

So some Italian doctors are arguing that their hospitals should implement a system of triage, or healthcare rationing.

If patients appear too ill to benefit from a ventilator, doctors would let them die so that they can care for patients who have better chance of recovering. Out the window goes the “first in, first served” principle. In a time of “castastrophe medicine”, the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care contends that utilitarian principles must be followed.

Utilitarianism must be in the air, because, by a happy coincidence, two Scottish academics say that legalising assisted dying would substantially benefit both those seeking to die early and the public. CONTINUE