The world is in a state of paranoia currently as nations try to combat the spread and effect of the coronavirus. Italy is facing the worst of the crisis right now and its medical system has descended into a state of chaos, according to news reports about the situation there.
One doctor who is treating patients there likened the situation to treating patients in a battlefield, like Vietnam or the aftermath of the attacks on Pearl Harbor and having to make split-second decisions on which patients will be treated and which ones will be denied care after a quick triage.
Shockingly, the same anti-life rationing ethic that is pervading medicine nowadays when it comes to the promotion of euthanasia and assisted suicide has become a part of suggested guidelines in Italy, as elderly and disabled patients potentially face discrimination because they are not young and healthy.
And one news report indicates an Italian medical college has issued shocking guidelines to doctors and medical professionals telling them to just let elderly patients die. As The Atlantic reports:
Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, will be left to die. This sounds cruel, but the alternative, the document argues, is no better. “In case of a total saturation of resources, maintaining the criterion of ‘first come, first served’ would amount to a decision to exclude late-arriving patients from access to intensive care.”
In addition to age, doctors and nurses are also advised to take a patient’s overall state of health into account: “The presence of comorbidities needs to be carefully evaluated.” This is in part because early studies of the virus seem to suggest that patients with serious preexisting health conditions are significantly more likely to die. But it is also because patients in a worse state of overall health could require a greater share of scarce resources to survive: “What might be a relatively short treatment course in healthier people could be longer and more resource-consuming in the case of older or more fragile patients.”
These guidelines apply even to patients who require intensive care for reasons other than the coronavirus, because they too make demands on the same scarce medical resources. As the document clarifies, “These criteria apply to all patients in intensive care, not just those infected with CoVid-19.”
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This is the essence of rationing health care, and for everyone since the guidelines apply even to people not infected or possibly infected by the coronavirus.
The irony is that the guidelines are called “distributive justice.” But there’s no justice when treatment decisions are based on who is considered too old or too ill. Every human being has a right to life and deserves medical care and treatment regardless of their age or disability. Governments and the private sector need to step up and do everything possible to ensure no patient gets left behind.
LifeNews Note: This article has been updated to make it more clear the guidelines are a possibility not a mandate.