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Doctors list who should die in a disaster situation

Doctors list who should die in a disaster situation

YOUR NEW REALITY
May 25, 2008

When the bird flu pandemic comes, and medical centres and hospitals are overloaded with the sick and the dying, not everyone is going to find the help they need.

In fact, there are tens of millions of people in the United States alone who will be denied help simply because they happen to fit into one of the following categories :

• 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.

The Centre For Disease Control, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security were all involved in selecting the categories under which people will be left to die.

The above categories are almost exactly the same as the “Leave Them To Die” health care rationing plans prepared by governments in Australian, South East Asia, the UK and most of Europe.

“If a mass casualty critical care event were to occur tomorrow, many people with clinical conditions that are survivable under usual health care system conditions may have to forgo life-sustaining interventions owing to deficiencies in supply or staffing,” the report states.

To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won’t get lifesaving care, the task force wrote. Those out of luck are the people at high risk of death and a slim chance of long-term survival.

If followed to a tee, such rules could exclude care for the poorest, most disadvantaged citizens who suffer disproportionately from chronic disease and disability, he said. While health care rationing will be necessary in a mass disaster, “there are some real ethical concerns here.”

While the notion of rationing health care is unpleasant, the report could help the public understand that it will be necessary, Bentley said.

Devereaux said compiling the list “was emotionally difficult for everyone.”

Particularly for 86 year old car accident victims with mental health problems and limited lung capacity.

 


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