34 minutes | Jan 10th 2021

Ep 94: Healthcare Rationing


It’s been over eleven months since the pandemic emerged in the United States and things are worse than ever. Hospitals across the country have reached full capacity and utilizing crisis standards of care, guidelines used when there is a shortage of resources and care.

Today’s episode is about healthcare allocation in the time of COVID with Britney Wilson, a civil rights attorney with the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. This center, along with three other disability rights organizations, filed a class action complaint in October 2020 against the State of New York.  The lawsuit challenges the New York State Ventilator Allocation Guidelines as discriminatory. The Guidelines allow hospitals to reallocate ventilators from people who use them in the community. Britney will talk about her role in the case and how the case came about, how these existing guidelines are ableist and harm disabled people, and the goals are from the lawsuit. Please note we talked in November 2020 and I included a short update at the end of the episode.


[Google doc]     [PDF]

Related Links


“NCLEJ Files Lawsuit to Protect Personal Ventilator Users,” October 8, 2020.

Class action complaint, Civil Case No: 1:20-cv-4819, October 7, 2020.

“Lawsuit Filed Challenges New York State Department of Health Guidelines Allowing the Reallocation of Personal Ventilators,” October 9, 2020, National Center for Law and Economic Justice.

“Disability Rights Activists Sue Cuomo over Ventilator Discrimination,” October 9, 2020, Wesley J. Smith, National Review.

“What the Chaos in Hospitals Is Doing to Doctors,”  January/February 2021, Jordan Kisner.

“One Man’s COVID-19 Death Raises The Worst Fears Of Many People With Disabilities,” July 31, 2020, Joseph Shapiro, NPR.

“As Hospitals Fear Being Overwhelmed By COVID-19, Do The Disabled Get The Same Access?” December 14, 2020, Joseph Shapiro, NPR.

Ep 81: Bioethics with Joe Stramondo, July 20, 2020, Disability Visibility podcast.

Ep 50: Disabled Lawyers with Hamza Jaka and Britney Wilson, May 6, 2019, Disability Visibility podcast.

“I’m disabled and need a ventilator to live. Am I expendable during this pandemic?” April 4, 2020, Alice Wong, Vox.

“I will not apologize for my needs,” March 27, 2020, Off-Kilter podcast.

National Center for Law and Economic Justice

Disability Rights New York 

NMD United

Not Dead Yet


About Britney Wilson, Black woman with curly natural, black hair and glasses in a blue chambray suit and white and blue polka dot top standing on crutches in an office.


Civil rights attorney Britney Wilson is a staff attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice in New York.

Twitter: @labelleverite


Support Disability Media and Culture

DONATE to the Disability Visibility Project®



Cheryl Green, Audio Producer and Text Transcript

Alice Wong, Writer, Audio Producer, Host

Lateef McLeod, Introduction

Mike Mort, Artwork

Theme Music (used with permission of artist)

Song: “Dance Off”

Artist: Wheelchair Sports Camp


Retro Metro” by Ketsa. (Source: FreeMusicArchive.org. licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.)

“Smooth Lovin” by Kevin MacLeod. Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4379-smooth-lovinLicense: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/


“VOCODER countdown” by Jack_Master. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.

8 Bit Beeping Computer Sounds” by sheepfilms. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.

Play Next
Mark Played