And So It Begins: As COVID-19 cases surge in the state, Starr County in Texas has been forced to create a “death panel” to decide which patients will be eligible for treatment, and which patients will be sent home to die.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:
Starr County is at a dangerous “tipping point,” reporting an alarming number of new cases each day, data show. Starr County Memorial Hospital — the county’s only hospital — is overflowing with COVID-19 patients.
The county health board — which governs Starr Memorial — has been forced to create what’s being compared to a so-called “death panel.” It’s set to authorize critical care guidelines Thursday that will help medical workers determine ways to allocate scarce medical resources on patients with the best chance to survive.
A committee will deem which COVID-19 patients are likely to die and send them home with family, Jose Vasquez, the county health authority, said during a news conference.
In a stunning admission of how dire the COVID-19 situation is in South Texas, the health authority for one border county on Tuesday announced the formation of an ethics committee that will screen all patients for survival potential and will send home those with low probabilities.
Starr County Health Authority Dr. Jose Vazquez said Starr County Memorial Hospital, the county’s only hospital, on Tuesday implemented an ethics committee and a triage committee to review all coronavirus patients as they come in to determine what type of life-saving equipment and treatment they would likely require and whether they would likely survive. Those deemed too fragile or sick or elderly will be advised to go home to loved ones, he said.
Commenting on the crisis, Dr. Jose Vazquez, Starr County Health Authority, said:
The situation is desperate. We cannot continue functioning in the Starr County Memorial Hospital nor in our county in the way that things are going. The numbers are staggering.
Emergency rooms are holding patients for hours or days because, basically, we do not have any rooms inside the hospital to put those patients.
The following is a sample of reactions to the story via Twitter:
Call it a death panel: Texas hospital is so overrun with #coronavirus cases a committee will decide which patients will go home to die. Thank officeholders and everyday people who didn’t take #COVID19 seriously for this. https://t.co/4XBw1A3VQz via @YahooNews #WearAMaskSaveALife
— Sig Christenson � (@saddamscribe) July 24, 2020
Texas adopts death panels after GOP opens state too quickly: “The county has been forced to form what is being compared to a so-called ‘death panel.’… A committee will deem which COVID-19 patients are likely to die and send them home with family.” https://t.co/e8KGBKaoOP
— John Aravosis �����️� (@aravosis) July 24, 2020
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) July 24, 2020
They are creating a death panel committee BEFORE issuing a stay-at-home order. Before. �
— Tara (@Lost2Tsundoku) July 24, 2020
A Texas hospital that is “overflowing with #COVID19 patients” has a committee that will deem which patients are likely to die and send them home.
— Stephen Daniel for Congress�� (@stephendaniel) July 24, 2020
Bottom line: As COVID-19 cases surges in the state, Starr County in Texas has been forced to create a “death panel” to decide which patients will be eligible for treatment, and which patients will be sent home to die.