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Inicio BIOETHICS UPdate The pandemic and the ethical dilemma of limited resources: Who to treat?
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Vol. 6. Issue 2.
Pages 67-79 (July - December 2020)
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Vol. 6. Issue 2.
Pages 67-79 (July - December 2020)
Original article
DOI: 10.1016/j.bioet.2020.09.003
The pandemic and the ethical dilemma of limited resources: Who to treat?
La pandemia y el dilema ético de los recursos limitados: ¿a quién tratar?
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Laura Palazzani
Libera Università Maria Ss.ma Assunta (LUMSA), Rome, Italy
Received 27 August 2020. Accepted 03 September 2020
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Abstract

The different ethical perspectives on the issue of distribution of scarce resources are discussed in this article. While the problem of distribution of resources does not exist in an ideal situation with sufficient availability of resources for everyone, in fact, in the context of a pandemic the distribution of scarce resources is revealed in a dramatic and urgent way. As regards this issue, there is agreement on the fact that distribution should be “fair”, according to the shared meaning of justice as “not to harm others” and to “give each his own”. However, within the pluralist discussion, there are different ways of conceiving justice on a theoretical level and applying it at a concrete level. This article examines classical bioethical theories that are reappearing in the discussion today – with different levels of intensity, or in different formulations – and this, in the light of the most important international and national ethical guidelines and recommendations on the distribution of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords:
COVID-19
Pandemic
Distribution of resources
Justice
Ethics
Resumen

El artículo discute diferentes perspectivas éticas sobre el tema de la distribución de recursos escasos. Si bien en una situación ideal con suficiente disponibilidad de recursos para todos no existe el problema de distribución de recursos, de hecho en el contexto de una pandemia la distribución de recursos escasos se revela de manera dramática y urgente. Sobre este tema, hay acuerdo en que la distribución debe ser “justa”, según el significado compartido de la justicia como “no dañar a los demás” y “dar a cada uno lo suyo”. Sin embargo, dentro de la discusión pluralista existen diferentes formas de concebir la justicia a nivel teórico y aplicarla a nivel concreto. El artículo examina las teorías bioéticas clásicas que están reapareciendo en la discusión hoy - en diferentes niveles de intensidad, o en diferentes formulaciones - y esto a la luz de las más importantes directrices y recomendaciones éticas internacionales y nacionales sobre la distribución de recursos durante el COVID-19 pandemia.

Palabras clave:
COVID-19
Pandemia
Distribución de recursos
Justicia
Ética

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