Who Would Be Saved? | WYPR

Who Would Be Saved?

May 21, 2014

Johns Hopkins Hospital in the early 1900s. Hopkins was overwhelmed during the pandemic and lost many of its own nurses and doctors to the flu.
Credit Library of Congress

During the flu pandemic of 1918 to 1919, tens of millions of people died worldwide.  A new study asked the citizens of Maryland to consider the ethical choices that would have to be made if such a flu were to strike again.  Who would be treated first? How would ventilators be allocated?   They asked people from around the state to consider those questions.  The results were published in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 

Sheilah Kast talks with the principal investigator of the study, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Daugherty Biddison.  She’s the Vice Chair for Clinical Operations at Johns Hopkins Medicine and an expert in critical care.  

She also speaks with Dr. Eric Toner, an emergency physician and Senior Associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security, which is managed by the University of Pittsburgh, but is actually based in Baltimore.  

And they're joined by  Dr. Lewis Rubinson, who helped shaped the federal government’s response to the H1N1 outbreak in 2009.  He was a commander in the Public Health Service, and is now the Director of the Critical Care resuscitation unit at the Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland.