During a pandemic, states’ patchwork of crisis plans could mean uneven care
Young woman patient lying at hospital bed feeling sad (Shutterstock)

A possible coronavirus pandemic could overwhelm the nation’s hospitals and force doctors into difficult decisions about how to allocate limited resources. Yet, experts say, only a handful of states have done the work necessary to prepare for such worst-case scenarios.How would hospitals handle overflowing emergency rooms? What would doctors do if they ran out of medicines or ventilators? How would they decide who gets prioritized if they can’t treat everyone?Many fear the rapid spread of the virus invites a repeat of disaster scenarios like those that occurred in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, ...

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