Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Criteria for intensive care used for first time in UK hospitals

Italian doctors admitted medics were being forced to ration care to Covid-19 patients, with elderly patients being denied care based on their age and whether they have other conditions

THE decision of a major London NHS trust to limit intensive care for coronavirus patients to those "reasonably certain" to survive is the first time the UK has introduced such criteria.

Imperial College Healthcare revealed on Sunday that "fewer and fewer marginal patients" are being given ventilator treatment because so many serious cases need a fortnight's treatment on the machines.

"In normal times we will give most people the benefit of the doubt. That has changed," a senior consultant told the Daily Telegraph.

"... Delaying their death for two or three weeks is not the right thing for them or for society."

The move came as a new study by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre revealed that the death rate for Covid-19 patients admitted to ICU is nearly 50 per cent.

In recent days palliative care doctors have been advising people to ask elderly relatives if they want hospital treatment if they deteriorate with coronavirus.

More than two weeks ago Italian doctors were admitting that medics were being forced to ration care to Covid-19 patients, with elderly patients being denied care based on their age and whether they have other conditions.

In the US state of Alabama new guidelines for doctors state `persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support'.

Similar guidance has been issued in Washington and Arizona, with medics told to "allocate resources to patients whose need is greater or whose prognosis is more likely to result in a positive outcome with limited resources".

It has been interpreted as suggesting people with Down's syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism could be left to die of coronavirus, causing widespread anger and revulsion.

Disability advocacy groups have filed complaints against the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for further clarification.

They are asking for assurances that disabled people will not be discriminated against when it comes to receiving emergency care.

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Coronavirus