As the United States braces for the apex of the CHINESE Covid19 outbreak, all eyes are on New York as the state leads the nation in infections and deaths. There is great concern regarding the amount of medical supplies, particularly that of ventilators. Currently equipped with nearly 12,000 ventilators, Governor Cuomo has requested more ventilators from the federal government (which has already supplied New York State with 400).
While not yet at full capacity, the governor’s preference for over-preparedness should be appreciated by New Yorkers. However, it might shock the state’s residents to learn that the New York Department of Health published a report that outlined the state’s preferred plan of action in the absence of enough ventilators.
In 2015, the New York State Department of Health with the help of New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, published the Ventilator Allocation Guidelines. Citing that the ultimate “goal is to save the most amount of lives”, these guidelines outline the criteria for how patients will be prioritized for ventilator use, aka, how ventilators will be rationed. Below is an excerpt from the report.
“To accomplish this goal, patients for whom ventilator therapy would most likely be lifesaving are prioritized. The Guidelines define survival by examining a patient’s short-term likelihood of surviving the acute medical episode and not by focusing on whether the patient may survive a given illness or disease in the long- term (e.g., years after the pandemic). Patients with the highest likelihood of survival without medical intervention, along with patients with the smallest likelihood of survival with medical intervention, have the lowest level of access to ventilator therapy. Thus, patients who are most likely to survive without the ventilator, together with patients who will most likely survive with ventilator therapy, increase the overall number of survivors.”
According to this protocol patients are assessed and scored on their probability of mortality. The first step in determining this score is to identify “Exclusion Criteria,” meaning any medical conditions that will automatically disqualify someone from ventilator treatment. This step immediately eliminates patients “with a short life expectancy.”
The second step is to complete the SOFA (Sequential Organ Failure Assessment). This test evaluates the function of a patient’s lungs, liver, brain, kidneys, blood clotting, and blood pressure. Upon completion of step one and two, successful patients are then offered ventilator therapy. However, there is a third level of assessment called a “Time Trial.” This step assesses a patient’s health improvement or decline while receiving ventilator treatment. If a patient does not improve within the 120-hour window, ventilator therapy can be removed from the patient.
The report reads as a cold and callous manual for disposing of human life. Imagine if you are the nurse or doctor that has to tell a patient “Sorry, you don’t qualify for life saving treatment.”
But this protocol is supposed to serve as an absolute last resort measure. Or is it?
According to this very same report “experts acknowledge that an influenza pandemic is probable and foreseeable.”
Furthermore, page 30 of the report quantifies the surplus/deficit number of ventilators in a moderate pandemic versus a severe pandemic (of which Covid19 is classified as severe). A moderate pandemic results in a surplus of +572; severe pandemic results in a shortfall of -15,783. With experts currently predicting a need for possibly 30,000 ventilators at the peak of the COVID19 outbreak, the New York Department of Health correctly predicted this severe pandemic and the deficit in ventilators. Kudos, governments usually don’t get anything right.
But the most damning portion of the report follows in the very next paragraph: “there are no current plans to buy enough ventilators for the most severe model.”
Left with the choice of buying more ventilators or creating death panels, New York chose the death panels.
Laughably, the report also cites “The Guidelines were written to reflect the values of New Yorkers.” Now I’m no Yankee, but I reckon New Yorkers would value buying more ventilators over the grim reaper strategy outlined above.
Governor Cuomo’s worried demand for more ventilators seems a lot more imperative now that we know that New York state preemptively decided to ration lives as opposed to invest in medical equipment to save them. Then again, this is the state that legalized full-term abortions and doesn’t mandate life-saving measures for babies born alive.
I have to commend Governor Cuomo’s efforts to avoid this worst-case scenario, even if it is at the very last minute. Perhaps that good ole fashioned Catholic guilt has kicked in at the thought of a full-grown clump of cells gasping for breath. Now if only we can convince him the unborn deserve the same compassion.