A letter printed on Henry Ford Health System letterhead saying that coronavirus treatment will be prioritized for patients most likely to survive has gone viral.
The hospital’s Twitter account confirmed the authenticity of the letter on Thursday night.
“With a pandemic, we must be prepared for worst case,” the tweet said. “With collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care decisions. We hope never to have to apply them. We will always utilize every resource to care for our patients.”
With a pandemic, we must be prepared for worst case. With collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care decisions. We hope never to have to apply them. We will always utilize every resource to care for our patients.
— Henry Ford News (@HenryFordNews) March 27, 2020
According to the letter, which you can read in full at The Detroit Free Press, priority is being given due to equipment and capacity shortages.
“Some patients will be extremely sick and very unlikely to survive their illness even with critical treatment,” the letter read. “Treating these patients would take away resources for patients who might survive.”
Those potentially ineligible for treatment include patients with terminal cancers or those with severe heart, lung, kidney, or liver failure, or other traumas.
“Patients who are not eligible for ICU or ventilator care will receive treatment for pain control and comfort measures,” the letter adds.
The hospital elaborated in a longer response to the Free Press:
“With a pandemic of this nature, health systems must be prepared for a worst case scenario. Gathering the collective wisdom from across our industry, we carefully crafted our policy to provide critical guidance to healthcare workers for making difficult patient care decisions during an unprecedented emergency. These guidelines are deeply patient focused, intended to be honoring to patients and families. We shared our policy with our colleagues across Michigan to help others develop similar, compassionate approaches. It is our hope we never have to apply them and we will always do everything we can to care for our patients, utilizing every resource we have to make that happen.”
Also this week, a video of a Beaumont nurse breaking down after a 13-hour shift treating coronavirus patients went viral.
“Honestly guys, it felt like I was working in a war zone,” she said. “…this is my normal for the next however many months it takes for this virus to die down. I’m already breaking, so for fuck’s sake people, please take this seriously. This is so bad.”
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