With the coronavirus rapidly spreading throughout the United States, hospitals and medical facilities are now face to face with extremely difficult decisions around how to care for patients.
According to the Washington Post, some hospitals, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, are now considering “do not resuscitate” orders for COVID-19 patients. That’s because resuscitation and an all hands on deck approach poses extreme risks to healthcare providers who could come into contact with the virus. There’s already major concerns that hospitals will become overrun with patients leaving front-line workers drowning. With shortages of equipment and ventilators, doctors may have to make difficult decisions about who to prioritize with care. It’s unclear when and where these types of decisions could come into play, but many in the medical community are working on guidelines for rationing as the pandemic continues to worsen. Today on AirTalk, we discuss the ethics behind these decisions with experts. Do you have a question? Call: 866-893-5722.
Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Medical Ethics Program at the School of Medicine at UC Irvine, he’s a member of the UC Office of the President’s Critical Care and Bioethics Task Force, which is establishing University of California hospital guidelines on these issues; he tweets @akheriaty