The issue of political, institutional and professional liability in the context of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic is currently widely debated and involves several levels of investigation. One crucial aspect relates to the allocation of life-saving resources in situations where there is an imbalance between need and availability and the associated questions of ethical and legal liability. This work looks at the implications of the criteria applied to rationing under extraordinary conditions and the issue of their legitimacy. Considering the European scenario, we describe the approach taken by Italy in proposing criteria for pandemic triage of intensive treatment and highlight certain problems and critical issues. We emphasise that the decision, based on a comparative assessment, to deny treatment to a patient in critical condition, compromising that patient’s right to care, exceeds the scope of decision-making autonomy of the professional concerned and requires a theoretical and procedural definition shared at multiple levels of society.