Death Panels Face ‘Agonizing Decisions’ On COVID-19

Sarah Palin image: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sarah Palin was met with howls of outrage and ridicule when she predicted in 2009 that ‘death panels’ would take charge of rationing healthcare in America, deciding who lives and who dies. Headline Health has repeatedly shared evidence that her prediction is coming to pass. Now a major article in The New York Times by a panel of two doctors and a law professor shows how ‘agonizing decisions’ may happen under the COVID-19 epidemic. 

How the Coronavirus May Force Doctors to Decide Who Can Live and Who Dies

In the face of overwhelming demand and limited resources, health care would need to be rationed, with agonizing decisions.

By Ezekiel J. Emanuel, James Phillips and Govind Persad

Dr. Emanuel is vice provost of global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Phillips is chief of disaster and operational medicine at George Washington University Hospital, and Mr. Persad is an assistant professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

[Dr. Emanuel, an oncologist, is already an advocate for early death and an obligation to die. In 2014, he wrote and article for The Atlantic, “Why I Hope to Die at 75.” In it, he advises that anyone who reaches the age of 75 should sign “a do-not-resuscitate order and a complete advance directive indicating no ventilators, dialysis, surgery, antibiotics, or any other medication.”– Ed.]

March 12, 2020

The New York Times – The coronavirus pandemic could soon force American physicians to face a tragic challenge — rationing medical care as the number of ill patients overwhelms the supplies, space and staff available in hospitals.

Today, the United States has fewer than 800,000 hospital beds, about 68,000 adult intensive care unit beds of any kind, and, even with the strategic reserve, fewer than 100,000 ventilators. As the coronavirus spreads, this will not be enough.

If even 5 percent of the 325 million people living in America get Covid-19, the current data suggests that 20 percent of them — 3.2 million people — will require hospitalization and 6 percent — 960,000 people — will require beds in intensive care units for many days.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.” – Sarah Palin, Facebook, August 7, 2009

“Agonizing choices may be required to determine which patients get lifesaving treatments and which patients do not … “

Covid-19 patients will simply overwhelm our health care system.

This worry about shortages of medical staff and equipment is not theoretical.

China had so many coronavirus patients that it had to build new hospitals and choose between treating Covid-19 patients and those with other illnesses.

Italy appears to be facing shortages of ventilators and intensive care unit beds. Daegu, South Korea, which has suffered about 75 percent of that country’s cases, faced a hospital bed shortage, with some patients dying at home while awaiting admission.

“[S]ociety and families—and you—will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly.” – Why I Hope to Die at 75, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, The Atlantic, Oct 2014 

In the United States, the number of appropriate face masks and the amount of other protective equipment falls far short of estimates of what we will need based upon modeling.

Hospitals, doctors and the American public must prepare, strategically and emotionally, for the real possibility that rationing will be necessary.

Agonizing choices may be required to determine which patients get lifesaving treatments and which patients do not.

How can health care officials ethically decide who gets scarce medical resources during this pandemic? … We offer these suggestions.

The priority should be health care workers; police, firefighters and other emergency workers; and those who keep water, electricity and other necessary systems functioning, because they can save the lives of others. Read more. 

HEADLINE HEALTH AND SARAH PALIN HAVE CONSISTENTLY WARNED OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF DEATH PANELS: 

Sarah Palin Nailed It On Death Panels (HEADLINE HEALTH, 2019/05/03)

Sarah Palin Nailed It: Death Panels Doom Seniors (HEADLINE HEALTH, 2018/11/05)

Sarah Palin Was Right; Thousands of Seniors Die Gruesome Deaths (HEADLINE HEALTH, 2018/09/06)

Sarah Palin Nailed It; 21,904 Die On Waiting Lists (HEADLINE HEALTH, 2018/03/08)

Sarah Palin Nailed It On ‘Death Panels’ (2017/11/10)

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