2020 GREAT Britain Campaign

Thursday 25 November 2021 -
17:00 to 18:00

The Ethics of Triage: Philosophy in the Time of Covid-19
featuring Professor Wayne Martin, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Essex Autonomy Project, School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

About the lecture

Clinicians resort to triage procedures to prioritise allocation of limited medical resources in circumstances where supply is insufficient to meet acute care demand.  In such circumstances, some patients may not get the care that they need.  

The coronavirus pandemic has placed tremendous pressure on emergency services, and there have been much-publicised shortages of critical life-saving medical resources. Frontline medical personnel have therefore had to struggle not only with the clinical challenges of care, but with fraught ethical dilemmas occasioned by scarcity.  Hospital ethics committees and public health bodies around the world have had to develop and adapt policies and procedures to allocate scarce resources.

In this lecture, Prof. Martin surveys the history of triage, examining both its ethical underpinnings and its variation across different cultural and historical situations.  He also discusses the vexing challenge of how to avoid discrimination when allocating life-saving resources.

About the Speaker

Professor Wayne Martin is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex, where he is a member of the Essex Human Rights Centre and Director of the Essex Autonomy Project. He has held honorary research positions with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and is a member of the research team for the Wellcome Trust’s Mental Health and Justice project. 

About the University
Since first opening its doors to students in 1964, close to 100,000 students from more than 140 countries have graduated from the University of Essex, and inspired by the inquisitive and ambitious Essex Spirit, have gone on to make a difference in the world. 

Ranked Top 25 globally for its international outlook* and Top 30 in the UK**, Essex has the proud tradition of encouraging students to challenge convention and think differently. 

* Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022
** The Complete University Guide 2022