Patients likely to die from Covid-19 may have treatment withdrawn

Two schools hit by Covid-19

Patients likely to die from Covid-19 may have treatment withdrawn

Guidance from the British Medical Association says that doctors and NHS staff could face the “grave decision” to withdraw treatment from those patients most likely to die from Covid-19, should hospitals become overwhelmed.

Patients may have life-saving treatment withdrawn if others with the virus are more likely to survive, according to new guidance issued to UK doctors.

Hospitals simply do not have the resources to cope with the increasingly overwhelming demand. A document issued by the British Medical Associations warns that decisions around rationing scarce resources, such as ventilators, could determine whether large numbers of patients will receive life-saving treatment or not.

The document states that doctors will face decisions:

“which mean some patients may be denied intensive forms of treatment that they would have received outside a pandemic.

Health professionals may be obliged to withdraw treatment from some patients to enable treatment of other patients with a higher survival probability.

This may involve withdrawing treatment from an individual who is stable or even improving but whose objective
assessment indicates a worse prognosis than another patient who requires the same resource.”

In the peak of the pandemic, it states, doctors may have to assess a person’s eligibility for treatment based on a “capacity to benefit quickly” basis.

This comes after another 563 patients died in the UK yesterday, the country’s biggest daily increase since the outbreak began.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted that testing needs to “massively ramp up” after criticism of the government’s approach to it.

NHS staff have also expressed frustration that they are being forced to self-isolate,  just as they are most needed to save lives, because tests are not available to show whether they are clear of the disease.

An additional temporary hospital has been built inside London’s ExCel Centre to deal with the influx of positive cases of Covid-19 for the duration of the pandemic.

The lockdown situation across the UK is up for review next week, after officials announced that social distancing measures are in fact making a difference.

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