A pandemic, such as could be caused by a highly contagious and lethal strain of an influenza virus like H5N1 "Bird Flu," would present great challenges to health care in the United States. Social and economic disruption, as well as shortages of medical equipment and supplies, would likely not only strain the basic systems for the provision of care but trigger a crisis of values around difficult questions of just whom to treat and how.
This site lists sources of information about ethical aspects of health care response to a pandemic, with emphasis on problems related to the allocation of limited resources and the implementation of "mass-casualty triage" and "altered standards of care." Special attention is given to the issue of the availability and use of mechanical ventilators. The overall intention is to encourage thought and discussion useful for pandemic preparedness, rather than to champion any particular plan.