"ProPublica, a nonprofit online news organization, published a story this week that says 'state and federal officials are pushing ahead with plans that -- during a severe flu outbreak -- would deny use of scarce ventilators by some patients to assure they would be available for patients judged to benefit the most from them.'
'The plans have been drawn up to give doctors specific guidelines for extreme circumstances and they include procedures under which patients who weren't improving would be removed from life support with or without permission of their families.'
The story, which criticizes the 'scant public input' given in the process, says the plans are designed to go into effect if the U.S. were struck by a pandemic comparable to the 1918 outbreak that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. It notes that
state and federal health officials have concluded that 'such a pandemic would sicken far more people needing ventilators than could be treated by the available supplies.'"
Friday, September 25, 2009
Some health authorities are pushing ahead with plans to ration ventilators in the event of a severe pandemic: