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Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hospitals on the front lines of the pandemic are engaged in a heated private debate over a calculation few have encountered in their lifetimes -- how to weigh the "save at all costs" approach to resuscitating a dying patient against the real danger of exposing doctors and nurses to the contagion of coronavirus.

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The conversations are driven by the realization that the risk to staff amid dwindling stores of protective equipment " such as masks, gowns and gloves " may be too great to justify the conventional response when a patient "codes," and their heart or breathing stops.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has been discussing a do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients, regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family members " a wrenching decision to prioritize the lives of the many over the one.

Officials at George Washington University Hospital in the District say they have had similar conversations, but for now will continue to resuscitate covid-19 patients using modified procedures, such as putting plastic sheeting over the patient to create a barrier. The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, one of the country's major hot spots for infections, is dealing with the problem by severely limiting the number of responders to a contagious patient in cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Several large hospital systems " Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Geisinger in Pennsylvania and regional Kaiser Permanente networks " are looking at guidelines that would allow doctors to override the wishes of the coronavirus patient or family members on a case-by-case basis due to the risk to doctors and nurses, or a shortage of protective equipment, say ethicists and doctors involved in those conversations. But they would stop short of imposing a do-not-resuscitate order on every coronavirus patient. The companies declined to comment.

Somebody wake up Sarah Palin, quasi death panels have actually arrived. Hospitals and doctors will be forced to play God in order to protect themselves and maintain the ability of further helping scores of other patients versus increasing the likelihood of exposing themselves to infection for the sake of trying to save one individual life.

It didn't have to be this way, but now it is.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-03-26 07:02 AM | Reply

A photo of every DNR patient needs to be taped to the White House gate.

#2 | Posted by Zed at 2020-03-26 08:51 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Consideration of universal do-not-resuscitate policies should be a wake-up call,' infectious diseases expert says.

"One of our primary sort of self-determinants is our ability to decide, you know, how we want to die and how we want to be taken care of," Jeanne Marrazzo, director of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said on CNN. "And something like this is just so " goes so much against everything that we care about in medicine, in ethics and really, in our humanity."

Marrazzo added that many patients 70 and older, who are considered high-risk, are healthy and ambulatory. Unilateral decisions about whether to try to save those people at all costs do not account for those differences, she said.

"But this fact does emphasize that people are being pushed against the wall to make decisions like this," Marrazzo said. "And that's the real tragedy that we're facing right now."

#3 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-03-26 09:18 AM | Reply

These are merely optimized alternate treatment plans.

#4 | Posted by bored at 2020-03-26 07:58 PM | Reply

Trump needs to be tried for this.

#5 | Posted by BruceBanner at 2020-03-26 08:14 PM | Reply

Trump should at least be consulted for guidance on this issue.

You know, being the Deciderer In Chief and all that.

#6 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-03-26 08:17 PM | Reply

"right now"

#8 | Posted by snoofy at 2020-03-26 08:36 PM | Reply

I've got one of those if my prognosis is grim. My DPOA has been instructed as needed.

#9 | Posted by LauraMohr at 2020-03-26 09:02 PM | Reply

They need to start using the only treatment there is so far which is convalescent plasma without any further study. It helped 100 years ago with Spanish flu. DNR makes sense when heroic measures will not save the patient anyway.

#10 | Posted by grumpy_too at 2020-03-26 11:12 PM | Reply

Henry Ford Health officials (Michigan) confirm letter outlining life and death protocols for COVID-19

Henry Ford Health System has officially confirmed the accuracy of a detailed letter being circulated by doctors and others on social media outlining life and death guidelines for use during the pandemic.

People had immediately replied with shock and sadness and challenged the authenticity of the letter.

"With a pandemic, we must be prepared for worst case," the tweet said. "With collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care decisions. We hope never to have to apply them. We will always utilize every resource to care for our patients."

#11 | Posted by tonyroma at 2020-03-27 07:43 AM | Reply

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