Discrimination, Triage and Denial-of-Treatment: Lessons from COVID-19 in the UK

Abstract: Triage is the medical screening of patients to determine their priority for treatment. When demand for medical services swamps supply, triage becomes a public policy imperative. The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK presented policy makers with the prospect of a triage situation as regards life-saving medical interventions. A variety of public policy responses to that challenge are examined, with particular attention to the human rights imperative to avoid discrimination on the basis of age and/or disability. The traditional ‘British triage system’ operates with a well-established meta-schema intended to save the most lives possible with the resources available. Discrimination concerns are identified both as regards the meta-schema itself and as regards one well-publicised attempt to specify and operationalise it for pandemic conditions. Four alternatives to the traditional meta-schema are canvassed.

Authors

Martin, W.

How to cite this document:

  • Martin, W.

(2020) ‘Discrimination, Triage and Denial-of-Treatment: Lessons from COVID-19 in the UK’ in S. Allen, W. Aseka, Z. Bajnay, A. Campbell, Š. Dušková, S. Gurbai, F. Mburu, B. Monteiro, and P. Taslakian (eds) Tackling Torture: Victims with Disabilities in the COVID-19 Outbreak. Validity, pp.23-37.

This article was published as part of an anthology: ‘Tackling Torture: Victims with Disabilities in the COVID-19 outbreak‘.