The Medical Priority Dispatch System

Decent Essays

PHIL 433
Assignment 3: Allocation

In late October of 2013, changes took affect in BC through what is called the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS). The MPDS is a recognized system used to dispatch appropriate aid to medical emergencies and is used in almost 3000 jurisdictions. The main change made was downgrading 74 different patient acuity classifications, such as serious falls and some motor-vehicle injuries from emergency dispatch to routine dispatch.

These changes were implemented in an effort to get to critical calls faster. William Dick, the vice-president of medical programs at B.C. Emergency Health Services, claims that the rationale behind the changes was to “triage cases and rank them in priority… so that we can get to …show more content…

The new operating policy observed by the EMS is fairer than the previous rule in this regard. The previous rule of allocation for Emergency Medical Services gave priority on a first-come first-serve basis for the calls that were demoted to “routine” versus the calls which were not. This meant that no matter the severity of the situation of the patient, whoever was first in line would take priority. This is in contradiction with the “worst-off, sickest first” rule.

Dr. William Dick emphasizes the importance of this “worst-off” rule as it is used in the implementation of the changes made to the MPDS. He says that “anything we can do to get [the response times of the tiny percentage of the most critically ill patients] down is ethically the right thing to do”. He further goes on to say that this rule is important because it values the life of one person over the pain of even a thousand people: “If even a thousand people wait 15 more minutes, and they 're in pain, and I 've saved one person from not dying, who can go home (to) his family, I 'll make that trade every day."

The second idea involves promoting and rewarding social usefulness. Specifically, it focuses on giving priority to those who have instrumental value to future situations. The new rule is neither fairer nor less fair than the old rule when considering this idea.

The new rule does not take at all into

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