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Potential Legal Liability for Withdrawing or Withholding Ventilators During COVID-19Assessing the Risks and Identifying Needed Reforms

Educational Objective
To understand the need for state legislatures to take action related to liability for decisions involving ventilator use in the time of ventilator shortages
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Article Information

Corresponding Author: I. Glenn Cohen, JD, Harvard Law School, Griswold Hall Room 503, Cambridge, MA 02138 (igcohen@law.harvard.edu).

Published Online: April 1, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.5442

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr White receives grant support from the National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

References
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White  DB , Lo  B .  A framework for rationing ventilators and critical care beds during the COVID-19 pandemic.   JAMA. Published online March 27, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.5046PubMedGoogle Scholar
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Truog  RD , Mitchell  C , Daley  GQ .  The toughest triage: allocating ventilators in a pandemic.   N Engl J Med. Published online March 25, 2020. doi:10.1056/NEJMp2005689PubMedGoogle Scholar
3.
Koch  JD , Roxland  BE .  Unique proposals for limiting legal liability and encouraging adherence to ventilator allocation guidelines in an influenza pandemic.   DePaul J Health Care Law. 2013;14:468-501. doi:10.2139/ssrn.2174511Google Scholar
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American Law Institute, Restatement (Second) of Torts, §924, comment (e).
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Lafave  W . Substantive Criminal Law 3d ed. §6.2(a), (c). Thomson Reuters; 2017.
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American Law Institute, Model Penal Code §3.02.
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Kletter  FL . Application of defense of necessity to murder. 2017; 23 A.L.R. 7th Art. 1.
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Hoffman  S .  Responders’ responsibility: liability and immunity in public health emergencies.   Georgetown Law J. 2008;96:1916-1969.Google Scholar
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MD Code, Public Safety, §14-3A-06; §14-3A-01(e)(1)-(3). https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2005/gps/14-3A-06.html
10.
Opinions of the Maryland Attorney General. Health–public health emergency preparedness–state’s authority to ration ventilators during pandemic–physician immunity. Published December 28, 2015. Accessed March 25, 2020. http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/Opinions%20Documents/2015/100oag160.pdf
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