From 2008 – a classic post:
Suppose there were a medical disaster such as a flu pandemic (which doctors expect sooner or later) where medical services are stretched beyond the limit. In that situation who lives and who dies and who decides?
Now an influential group of U.S. doctors have drafted a specific list of recommendations for which patients would not be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.
These guidelines are an attempt to make sure that scarce resources – including ventilators, medicines, and doctors and nurses — are used in a uniform, objective way.
The U.S. report urges hospitals to designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who willand who won’t get lifesaving care. Those out of luck are the following:
- People older than 85.
- Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.
- Severely burned patients older than 60.
- Those with severe mental impairments, which could include advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
- Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.
- Should your 85-year old grandmother get no life saving care?
- Should your 60-year-old severely burned father get no lifesaving care?
- Should your husband who has severe emphasyma receive no life saving care?
- Should there be a national debate on how scarce medical resources are used in a disaster?