And So It Begins: Utah Hospitals are preparing to ration care as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to place an intolerable strain on the state’s healthcare industry.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
With new coronavirus cases shattering records on a daily basis, Utah’s hospitals are expected to begin rationing care in a week or two.
Utah hospitals could be days away from using a patient’s age, health and other factors to decide who can remain in overcrowded intensive care units due to an onslaught of Covid-19 cases.
Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, reports that administrators of the state’s hospitals gave Governor Gary Herbert a criteria they will be using for rationing care when “they are forced to decide which patients can stay in overcrowded intensive care units.”
The Salt Lake Tribune notes:
Under the criteria, which would require Herbert’s approval, patients who are getting worse despite receiving intensive care would be moved out first. In the event that two patients’ conditions are equal, the young get priority over the old, since older patients are more likely to die.
Speaking about his meeting with the governor, Bell said:
We told him, ‘It looks like we’re going to have to request those be activated if this trend continues,and we see no reason why it won’t.’
Describing the “death panel” criteria, Bell said:
At the end of the day, some senior person, versus some healthy young person, probably would not get the nod.
Commenting on the story, Utah State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn responded via Twitter to the report that Utah’s hospitals could soon be forced to ration care, declaring:
This is NOT ok. It is maddening that we are planning to ration care in Utah. Unacceptable. We must do EVERYTHING we can to slow #COVID spread. No excuses. #MaskUpUtah #PhysicalDistancing https://t.co/AcToEmUMtm
— Dr. Angela Dunn (@DrAngelaCDunn) October 26, 2020
This is NOT ok. It is maddening that we are planning to ration care in Utah. Unacceptable. We must do EVERYTHING we can to slow #COVID spread. No excuses.
More reactions to the story via twitter:
This is horrifying.
“Utah’s hospitals prepare to ration care as a record number of coronavirus patients flood their ICUs” https://t.co/jj80En3wXE
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) October 25, 2020
HORRIFYING—Utah hospitals so overcrowded—soon starting rationing of ICUs.
“patients getting worse despite ICU would be moved out first. In event 2 patients’ conditions are equal, young gets priority over old, since older patients likely to die.” #COVID19https://t.co/dsR5H4dOz8
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 26, 2020
All these years I’ve been told that socialized medicine would result in rationed care. Yet the first time most of us will experience rationed care is under the stewardship of a Governor with a laissez-fair approach to public health during a crisis. https://t.co/Tb3FLYLqCC
— Katie Matheson (@katieomatheson) October 25, 2020
Bottom line: Utah Hospitals are preparing to ration care as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to place an intolerable strain on the state’s healthcare industry.