In ERs overwhelmed by COVID-19, here’s who might get treated—and who might not

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 20: Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for COVID-19 at St. Barnabas hospital on March 20, 2020, in New York City. St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area.

Enlarge / NEW YORK, NY –
MARCH 20: Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for
COVID-19 at St. Barnabas hospital on March 20, 2020, in New York
City. St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx set-up tents to triage
possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main
Emergency department area. (credit:
GettyMischa Friedman
)

The new coronavirus doesn’t just kill by storming lungs and
other organs. It also kills by besieging health care systems.

If left to swirl in a community unchecked for a few weeks, the
virus can whip up a tsunami of cases that crash into urgent care
clinics, emergency departments, and intensive care units, quickly
washing out beds, supplies, and staff.

In such a crisis, doctors must make heart-wrenching decisions
about which patients get the last beds and which get scarce
ventilators and respiratory therapists. At the same time, they’re
likely facing shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE),
such as masks and gowns. Rationing and reusing such items leads to
more nurses and doctors getting sick. That means fewer health care
workers to wade through the flood of patients. Some may even join
their patients in needing critical care.

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
In ERs overwhelmed by COVID-19, here’s who might get treated—and who might not