An elderly patient is attended in one of the emergency structures that were set up to ease procedures outside the hospital of Brescia, Northern Italy, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP)
As we enjoy this beautiful day, some on the other side of the world may be staring down a coming death sentence.
Compliments of the Powers That Be.
In Italy, those with coronavirus will be denied intensive care if they’re over 80.
Such is the case, if the pressure for beds increases.
That’s the proposal of a crisis management unit in Turin.
The elderly may just be left to die.
One doctor put it this way:
“[Who lives and who dies] is decided by age and by the [patient’s] health conditions. This is how it is in a war.”
Here’s The Telegraph with more:
The unit has drawn up a protocol, seen by The Telegraph, that will determine which patients receive treatment in intensive care and which do not if there are insufficient spaces. Intensive care capacity is running short in Italy as the coronavirus continues to spread.
The document was crafted by the civil protection department of an area hardest hit by the virus: the Piedmont region.
Here’s how authorities will select those eligible for care:
The criteria for access to intensive therapy in cases of emergency must include age of less than 80 or a score on the Charlson comorbidity Index (which indicates how many other medical conditions the patient has) of less than 5.
Another factor: the patient’s ability to recover from resuscitation.
The growth of the current epidemic makes it likely that a point of imbalance between the clinical needs of patients with COVID-19 and the effective availability of intensive resources will be reached.
Should it become impossible to provide all patients with intensive care services, it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment, which depends on the limited resources available.”
If the hospital can’t care for everyone, then it must pick and choose:
The criteria set out guidelines if the situation becomes of such an exceptional nature as to make the therapeutic choices on the individual case dependent on the availability of resources, forcing [hospitals] to focus on those cases in which the cost/benefit ratio is more favorable for clinical treatment.
One councilor for health in Piedmont — Luigi Icardi — said he never wanted it to come to this:
“I never wanted to see such a moment. [The document] will be binding and will establish in the event of saturation of the wards a precedence code for access to intensive care, based on certain parameters such as potential survival.”
The document’s been completed, and it’s ready to be sent to hospitals. All that’s necessary for that to happen is approval from a technical-scientific committee.
In Italy, more than 1,800 have died from COVID-19.
Over 24,000 have tested positive.
As of Saturday, there were plenty of beds — 5,090 for intensive care.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean country is working to create more bed space in clinics, nursing homes, and even tents.
And if all those beds get used, the government wants to employ a whole lot of necessary doctors and nurses.
While the area of Lombardy is presently the most critical, in Piedmont in just one day, 180 new cases were discovered. By March 14th, 27 people had died from the illness.
Things aren’t likely to get better immediately.
As for abandoning the elderly, Piedmont’s president of the coronavirus technical-scientific committee — Roberto Testi — told The Telegraph they hope to delay the document’s application as long as possible:
“We want to arrive as late as possible at the point where we have to decide who lives and who dies. The criteria relate only to access to intensive care – those who do not get access to intensive care will still receive all the treatment possible. In medicine we sometimes have to make difficult choices but it’s important to have a system about how to make them.”
I can think of nothing more disturbing than officials choosing life or death for the citizenry in any situation. I’m of the opinion that, where there’s a will, there’s a way — whether it be major restructuring, outside help, or both.
Whatever is necessary for everyone to have access to emergency medical care, I hope it’s done.
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