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Friday, March 27, 2020

Triage in a Time of Pandemic

For John, BLUFWhen medical capabilities run short, some will get support and some won't.  The question is the rules to be followed.  For example, Italy saying no medical support to those 60 and over, seems to be arbitrary and wrong.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The Boston Pilot, by Ms Nancy Frazier O'Brien, 25 March 2020.

Here is the lede plus four:

Catholic ethicists and legal experts are sounding the alarm that the scarcity of resources such as ventilators and hospital beds during the current coronavirus pandemic could prompt health care decisions based only on age and disability -- and in some cases already is.

Decisions on life-saving care based solely on those criteria are unjust, discriminatory and a violation of federal civil rights law, they say.

One of the strongest and most persistent voices has been that of Charles Camosy, an associate professor of theological and social ethics at Fordham University in New York, one of the hardest-hit U.S. cities.

"It should not be up to physicians to decide whose subjective quality of life deserves to be prolonged," he wrote in a March 19 opinion piece in the New York Post.  "If rationing arrives, we must stand up unambiguously for the marginalized and vulnerable."

He was especially critical of the Italian government for reportedly recommending that health care resources be rationed by age and limited to those who "could enjoy the largest number of life-years saved."  Italy has had nearly 70,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 6,800 deaths as of March 25.

A short article with a lot of food for thought.

Regards  —  Cliff

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