Hospitals openly discuss “a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for all COVID-19 patients”
| Mar 26, 2020
| Fox News – As hospitals across the country face shortages of personal protective equipment due to surges of coronavirus patients, health care professionals are reportedly privately discussing the possibility of a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients to mitigate the risks for those responding to a code blue.
“If we risk their well-being in service of one patient, we detract from the care of future patients, which is unfair,” bioethicist Scott Halpern at the University of Pennsylvania wrote in a circulated model guideline, according to The Washington Post.
Still, he said a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for all COVID-19 patients is too “draconian.”
He suggested the patient’s doctor and another should sign off on case-by-case do-not-resuscitate orders for coronavirus patients, giving the reason to the family – although they don’t have to agree with it.
Richard Wunderink, an intensive-care medical director at Northwestern, said that many families are choosing to sign DNRs when hospital staff explain that having to put on protective gear before tending to a “coding” patient decreases the chance of saving their life.
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“By the time you get all gowned up and double-gloved the patient is going to be dead,” Fred Wyese, an ICU nurse in Michigan, told The Post. “We are going to be coding dead people. It is a nightmare … ” Read more.
Coronavirus: US hospitals considering blanket ‘do not resuscitate’ orders for Covid-19 patients
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has been discussing a universal do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients, regardless of patient’s wishes
Mar 26, 2020
The Independent (UK) – Hospitals on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic are engaged in a heated private debate over a calculation few have encountered in their lifetimes — how to weigh the “save at all costs” approach to resuscitating a dying patient against the real danger of exposing doctors and nurses to the contagion of coronavirus.
The conversations are driven by the realisation that the risk to staff amid dwindling stores of protective equipment — such as masks, gowns and gloves — may be too great to justify the conventional response when a patient “codes,” and their heart or breathing stops.
Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has been discussing a universal do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients, regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family members — a wrenching decision to prioritise the lives of the many over the one.
Richard Wunderink, one of Northwestern’s intensive-care medical directors, said hospital administrators have asked Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for help in clarifying state law and whether it permits the policy shift.
“It’s a major concern for everyone,” he said. “This is something about which we have had lots of communication with families, and I think they are very aware of the grave circumstances.”
Officials at George Washington University Hospital in Washington say they have had similar conversations, but for now will continue to resuscitate Covid-19 patients using modified procedures, such as putting plastic sheeting over the patient to create a barrier.
The University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle, one of the country’s major hot spots for infections, is dealing with the problem by severely limiting the number of responders to a contagious patient in cardiac or respiratory arrest. Read more.
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