Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99


Flu pandemics could lead to ventilator rationing

Flu pandemics could lead to ventilator rationing

If a deadly flu epidemic hit Maryland, the governor could decide which patients would be put on life-saving ventilators — and which wouldn't.

Maryland's attorney general issued an opinion in December that found that the Catastrophic Health Emergencies Act of 2002 gives the governor the authority to ration the machines that support breathing in flu patients suffering respiratory complications.

That doesn't mean the governor would decide personally who gets a ventilator. Rather, he or she would declare a public health emergency and hospitals would rely on a set of criteria to allocate resources.

Those criteria, however, don't exist yet.

The Johns Hopkins...