The document provoked an uproar.
The media feasted on it, spreading the panic. The situation in Italy was certainly exceptional due to the sheer number of cases presenting themselves each day. It’s likely the first time that many of these doctors, especially the younger ones, were being faced with such harrowing choices. Yet, from an ethical point of view, the document was neither unprecedented nor revolutionary.
In another context of scarce resources – organ donation – patients are routinely ranked on waiting lists using an algorithm. Standard criteria match donor organs to recipients using a calculation of the chances of the transplant’s success and the patient’s survival. More controversial criteria can apply too.
There’s no escaping such dilemmas in our healthcare system, which will always have finite capacity.