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Table 2 Responses to triage scenario, derived from Tallgren et al. [15]

From: Rationing in the intensive care unit in case of full bed occupancy: a survey among intensive care unit physicians

You are contacted by the Emergency Room, requesting an ICU bed for an 18-year old male with suspected meningitis and sepsis. The ICU is full. How do you proceed? (n = 162)


Total (%)

Familiar with guideline (%)

Unfamiliar with guideline (%)

It is my responsibility to take care of the patients who are in the ICU at the moment. Therefore, this is not primarily my concern.

81 (50.0)

40 (59.7)

41 (43.2)

The patient who is likely to benefit the least from care in this ICU is to be treated elsewhere. Therefore, one of the patients in the ICU will be transferred to a regular ward, to a high-dependency unit or to another ICU.

66 (40.7)

19 (28.4)

47 (49.5)

In order to make one more ICU bed available, I will request more nurses to be called to work immediately.

15 (9.3)

8 (11.9)

7 (7.4)

I am not sure what to do. I will consult a colleague for a second opinion.

0 (0)

0 (0)

0 (0)