Who should MDs let die in a pandemic? Report offers answers
By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer Mon May 5, 12:14 AM ET
Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won't get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die.
Now, an influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn't be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.
The suggested list was compiled by a task force whose members come from prestigious universities, medical groups, the military and government agencies. They include the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The proposed guidelines are designed to be a blueprint for hospitals "so that everybody will be thinking in the same way" when pandemic flu or another widespread health care disaster hits, said Dr. Asha Devereaux. She is a critical care specialist in San Diego and lead writer of the task force report.
The idea is to try to make sure that scarce resources — including ventilators, medicine and doctors and nurses — are used in a uniform, objective way, task force members said.
Now. That's quite a thing. We've known for ages that there are systems of selection in medical environments and situations. I suppose just a little scary to see it in print.
Article goes on to say...
_People older than 85.
_Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.
_Severely burned patients older than 60.
_Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer's disease.
_Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.
... as examples of how detailed this report gets.
What do YOU think?
There are too many humans. Perhaps life isn't quite as sacrosanct as before...