11/23/2009 12:05 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Your Chance to Weigh In on Medical Rationing for a Severe Flu Pandemic

By Sheri Fink, ProPublica

Today, ordinary Americans get a rare opportunity to weigh in on a life-and-death issue: Who gets access to scarce, life-saving treatments during a disaster?

The public has been invited to participate in a teleconference (PDF) in which advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will discuss ethical guidance they have drawn up for rationing mechanical ventilators in a severe influenza pandemic. (As we've reported, many states have been quietly laying plans for such a scenario. For example, Florida has considered excluding certain patients from ventilators.) 

Chances are, few people will phone in to join Monday's meeting. CDC officials have not advertised the session outside of a notice published late in the Federal Register.

But you can join in. The hourlong conference takes place at 3 p.m. EST and anyone can listen to the proceedings by calling (866) 919-3560 and entering passcode 4168828. According to the agenda, the committee is scheduled to vote on the guidance before it opens the meeting to public comments. The document will then go to the full advisory committee to the director of the CDC for approval.

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