Whom Should MDs Let Die in a Pandemic? Report Offers Answers

Chicago (AP) It would be a gut-wrenching dilemma for doctors if there's a flu pandemic or some other major health-care disaster.

A task force of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn't be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.

One of the lead writers of the report says the idea is to make sure scarce resources, including doctors and nurses, are used in an objective way. She calls it a blueprint for hospitals “so that everybody will be thinking the same way” if disaster strikes.

But a public health law expert not involved in the report says it's a political and legal “minefield” because the recommendations probably violate federal discrimination laws.

The report is in this month's journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.