Three people, one ventilator: UP webinar takes on COVID-19 crisis-level hospital care

| Posted by UP Media and Public Relations Office


In a pandemic, scarcity of resources is a given. Historically, pandemics are characterized by shortages of human, financial, material and infrastructure resources. For the COVID-19 pandemic, even developed countries with a tremendous amount of resources for staff, equipment, drugs and medicines have experienced shortages, huge gaps in service delivery and severe distress among patients and providers because of ethical and moral dilemmas as to who should be prioritized in crisis situations.

For instance, what happens in the health facility when three people need a ventilator and only one is available?

This question can be a matter of life and death. Should the decision be made by patients? What is the role of the family? Is it for the doctor and the medical team to decide? Are there guidelines to help decide on who gets access to a bed, a drug or a ventilator?

The 58th installment of the University of the Philippines webinar series, “Stop COVID Deaths”, “Who gets the last ventilator? COVID-19 Crisis-Level Hospital Care”, is a virtual grand rounds that will discuss this critical issue by using the ventilator as a proxy for any life-saving intervention. The webinar will be held on 25 June 2021, Friday, at 12:00 noon.

Sign up for registration slots at, or watch the webinar on TVUP’s YouTube channel.

While the Philippines has not experienced a shortage of ventilators, preparedness for a surge requires taking a closer look at our challenges in relation to scarce resources for life-saving interventions. Among the questions to be faced are: Do we just need more supplies? Do we need a system for sharing of supplies across regions? Do we need guidance on how to manage and monitor limited supplies within institutions, across health facilities and centrally across the country?

Main presenter for this week’s “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar is Dr. Leonora Fernandez, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine, UP Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH). The panel of reactors include: Maria Fatima Lorenzo, President of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations; Dr. Ralph Elvi Villalobos, consultant with the Division of Pulmonary Medicine at the UP-PGH; Atty. James Dennis Gumpal, head of the UP Manila Legal Office; and, Prof. Leonardo De Castro of the Department of Philosophy, UP Diliman.

Opening remarks will be by Dr. Marita Reyes, head of HTAC, former Chancellor of UP Manila and former Dean of the UP College of Medicine, with synthesis and closing remarks by Dr. Charlotte M. Chiong, Dean of the UP College of Medicine.

The “Stop COVID Deaths” webinar series is produced by the University of the Philippines in partnership with UP Manila NIH National Telehealth Center and in cooperation with UP-PGH.