By Dave Lindorff
(This is the first article in what will be a series called “Epidemic Epistle: A CORVID-19 Crisis Chronicle by Dave & Gary Lindorff” running in ThisCantBeHappening.net)
Philadelphia — I’m sitting here self-quarantined with my family in our 1738 stone farmhouse just north of Philadelphia. It’s an ancient building that I’m sure has known its share of epidemics over the centuries, including typhus and the deadly 1918 Spanish Flu.
Right now I’m thinking about hospital triage.
According to the New York Times, hospitals in Seattle, one of two hot spots in the US Coronavirus Pandemic with 2221 confirmed cases and 110 deaths statewide, are seriously planning for how to decide which patients suffering from the often fatal Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome complication associated with the disease will get one of the limited number of ventilators available, and which ones will be left to fend for themselves and probably not survive. They want to develop a set or guidelines, so doctors won’t have to make personal decisions in the moment and be overburdened with guilt afterwards whichever option they chose.
In Italy, the country with the highest number of deaths so far from the COVID-19 virus (over 5000 and rising rapidly), these terrible decision have already been made many times over in hospitals that are swamped with critical patients. We’ll be facing them in city after city in no time here in the US, which is far less prepared for this pandemic than was Italy with its universal health care system, far greater number of beds per 1000 people, better physician staffing and ready supply of coronavirus test kits.
In the US, thanks to President Trump’s having ignored the looming pandemic for months, even referring to it as a “Democrat hoax” or “Chinese hoax” and to his having eliminated the pandemic warning unit at the Centers for Disease Control and the Pandemic specialist on his National Security Council, there was no effort as recently as early March to order mass quantities of virus test kits. As a result, US health experts and pandemic planners have been flying blind in this crisis, not knowing who is infected and who is not, or even how many are infected in any locale.
That’s why we have to hole up in quarantined family units, not even knowing if one of us may be contagious and a threat the rest of the household.
And now we’re about to see our hospitals across the country begin to be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients, many of whom will need ventilators to survive the pneumonia and lung damage that will occur as their bodies succumb to the viral attack on their lungs.
The triage process will be fairly straight-forward. When ventilators are in short supply doctors will be instructed by policy to give them to those who have a good chance of survival with the machine. That’s where it gets personal…
For the rest of this first Epidemic Epistly by DAVE LINDORFF, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/triage-crisis-coming-and-its-personal/