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Grand Rounds: When We Can’t Save Everyone: The Ethics of Scarce Resource Allocation During a Pandemic


By Richard McCandless, MS, DMin, and John Pope, MD , Chaplaincy Services and Global Health (respectively), Akron Children's Hospital, Akron, OH

Objectives (Educational Content) :

1. Describe the ethical foundations of allocating limited life-saving therapies under disaster conditions 2. Illustrate the differences between normal standards of care and crisis standards of care 3. Contrast patient-centered versus public health-centered care 4. Describe the historical, philosophical and religious aspects of human response to disasters.

Target Audience:

General pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists and nurses

Identified Gap:

Methods of healthcare vary for the individual and the general public during a disaster.

Estimated Time to Complete the Educational Activity:

1 hour

Expiration Date for CME Credit:


Method of Physician Participation in the Learning Process:

The learner will view the presentation, successfully complete a post-test and complete an activity evaluation.

Evaluation Methods:

All learners must successfully complete a post-test, as well as an activity evaluation, to claim CME credit.


Dr. Pope and Reverend McCandless have indicated that they have no relevant financial interest in any pharmaceutical or medical device company and that this activity was developed independent of commercial interest.

Accreditation Statement:

Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron is accredited by the Ohio State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CHMCA designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 125 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit TM.  Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


The Belmont Report of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research; Washington, Department of Health and Human Services, 1979

Bristow, Nancy, American Pandemic: the lost worlds of the 1918 influenza epidemic; Oxford University Press, New York, 2012

Paul Brand MD and Philip Yancey, The Gift of Pain; Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI, 1993, 1997