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Guidelines to help doctors decide how likely it is that a patient may live or die in the short term issued by the province.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Correction:  The 44 students infected at a university student residence were at McGill University – not the University of Guelph. The correction has been made.

This is a stark news report.

Dr Brian Goldman, the man behind the CBC radio program White Coat Black Art interviewed a number of medical professionals about a Memorandum that was first sent to hospitals in the province and then sent to doctors setting out the criteria as to which COVID-19 patients would get care and who would not get care.

header with goldman These documents contain guidelines to help doctors decide how likely it is that a patient may live or die in the short term. Depending on the circumstance, ICU doctors may be forced to use these guidelines, and not offer critical care to patients who are unlikely to survive. The more strained the system becomes, the more drastic the decisions ICU doctors will need to make.

Making such a drastic decision becomes necessary when there are just no more beds or ventilators to help those who are infected.

patient

Patients in critical care units in a Toronto hospital.

This short video sets out the bleak choices doctors may have to make  in deciding who gets care.

Dr David Lepofsky said, “You can’t decide who lives and dies by a government memo.”

Michael Warner

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital said that, “On a good day, the [emergency department] can be bananas. And if we’re ever at the point where this policy becomes something that we have to use, I think the situation will be where you’re running around just trying to keep people alive.

“There are tools that we’re supposed to use: checklists to evaluate from an objective basis the likelihood the patient will survive a year from their critical illness. And if the patient is not offered critical care, it’s not like they’re left with nothing.

“They’re supposed to be offered palliative care, or some other form of care in hospitals so that when they ultimately die, they can die in a comfortable, dignified way.”

The province has extended the lock down for an additional 14 days. The number of new infections are lowering but not by nearly enough.

Forty-four students at a residence at the University of Guelph were reported infected.

Almost every resident at a long term care in Barrie is infected, with more than 25 having succumbed to the disease.

There is a crisis on the other side of the door.  Every time someone strays from the rules that are in place that door opens up just a little.  If that door is opened enough we will be facing a very very hard time; the closing of a restaurant will seem so insignificant.

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