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Revista da Associação Médica Brasileira

versión impresa ISSN 0104-4230


FORTES, Paulo Antônio de Carvalho  y  PEREIRA, Patricia Cristina Andrade. Patient prioritization in medical emergencies: an ethical analysis. Rev. Assoc. Med. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.58, n.3, pp.335-340. ISSN 0104-4230.

OBJECTIVE: To identify and analyze, in the light of ethical considerations, the choices and justifications of public health professionals in hypothetical situations of patient prioritization in circumstances of limited resources during emergency medical care. METHODS: Qualitative and quantitative study, carried out through interviews with 80 public health professionals, graduate students (MSc and PhD students) in public health who were faced with hypothetical situations involving the criteria of gender, age, and responsibility, asked to choose between alternatives that referred to the existence of people, equally submitted to life-threatening situations, who needed care in an emergency department. RESULTS: The choices prioritized children, young individuals, women, and married women, with decision-making invoking the ethical principles of vulnerability, social utility, and equity. CONCLUSION: The study shows a clear tendency to justify the choices that were made, guided by utilitarian ethics.

Palabras clave : bioethics; patient selection; equity in resource allocation; resource allocation; institutional ethics.

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