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Soyun Kim 1 Article
Public Preferences for Allocation Principles for Scarce Medical Resources in the COVID-19 Pandemic in Korea: Comparisons With Ethicists’ Recommendations
Ji-Su Lee, Soyun Kim, Young Kyung Do
J Prev Med Public Health. 2021;54(5):360-369.   Published online August 26, 2021
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
The purpose of this study was to investigate public preferences regarding allocation principles for scarce medical resources in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly in comparison with the recommendations of ethicists.
An online survey was conducted with a nationally representative sample of 1509 adults residing in Korea, from November 2 to 5, 2020. The degree of agreement with resource allocation principles in the context of the medical resource constraints precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic was examined. The results were then compared with ethicists’ recommendations. We also examined whether the perceived severity of COVID-19 explained differences in individual preferences, and by doing so, whether perceived severity helps explain discrepancies between public preferences and ethicists’ recommendations.
Overall, the public of Korea agreed strongly with the principles of “save the most lives,” “Koreans first,” and “sickest first,” but less with “random selection,” in contrast to the recommendations of ethicists. “Save the most lives” was given the highest priority by both the public and ethicists. Higher perceived severity of the pandemic was associated with a greater likelihood of agreeing with allocation principles based on utilitarianism, as well as those promoting and rewarding social usefulness, in line with the opinions of expert ethicists.
The general public of Korea preferred rationing scarce medical resources in the COVID-19 pandemic predominantly based on utilitarianism, identity and prioritarianism, rather than egalitarianism. Further research is needed to explore the reasons for discrepancies between public preferences and ethicists’ recommendations.
Korean summary
코로나19 대유행으로 가시화된 의료자원의 부족 상황에서 서로 다른 의료자원 배분 원칙에 대한 일반 대중의 선호를 조사한 연구이다. 제시된 여러 원칙 중에서, 공리주의, 한국인 아이덴티티, 약자우선주의에 기초한 배분 원칙이 가장 높은 선호를 보였다. 이러한 결과는, 일반 상황과 달리 감염병 대유행 상황에서는 공리주의에 기초한 배분 원칙을 강화하되 사회적 유용성도 자원 배분의 주요 원칙으로 받아들일 수 있다는 윤리학자들의 견해와는 차이를 보인다.


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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health