SEVERAL weeks ago, I went to a case presentation of a patient with influenza A who had been ventilated and spent 8 days in the intensive care unit (ICU). The patient was part of this year’s unexpected and unseasonal surge in cases across Australia and, given the uncertainty about this atypical event, concern was expressed about what might play out over the course of the rest of the year. When I asked what the ICU team would do if the demand for ventilators outstripped the supply, the reply was that patients would be transferred to other centres. What would happen if, during a pandemic, other centres did not have spare capacity and could not accept transfers? The immediate reply from a senior ICU consultant was that they would have to decide which patient, or patients, would not be offered ventilation. This was neither a hypothetical question, nor was the […]