Ethical Considerations in Sudden Mass Casualty Incidents and Disasters
Sudden mass casualty incidents (SMCIs) and disasters may overwhelm the local and regional healthcare systems, and it will be more evident in events where the infrastructure of the city is partially or completely destroyed, such as in earthquakes, hurricanes, and devastating flooding.
In addition, evacuation and transport capabilities of patients outside the disaster area may be compromised, therefore making the problem even worst.
There will be times when major ethical decisions will need to be made with respect to patient outcome, more often in scenarios in which the risks to medical staff are higher than the benefits of continuing futile medical care.
Each hospital needs to have an ethical committee, permanent or ad hoc, to assist medical personnel with these difficult resolutions.
Below are scenarios and medical conditions that require challenging decision making.