Report Recommends Whom to Sacrifice During a Pandemic

May 05, 2008 02:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A new report in the journal Chest recommends which groups not to treat if health care has to be rationed during a pandemic.

30-Second Summary

A group of physicians have created guidelines specifying which people to avoid treating during a pandemic, or a global epidemic of a disease such as the flu. The guidelines are to be published in this month’s Chest, the American College of Chest Physicians’ journal.

According to The Associated Press: “The idea is to try to make sure that scarce resources—including ventilators, medicine and doctors and nurses—are used in a uniform, objective way, task force members said.”

Groups the study recommends not treating, according to AP, include people over 85; people with “severe trauma”; patients over the age of 60 who have been severely burned; those with severe mental impairment, such as advanced Alzheimer’s disease; and people with a severe chronic disease.

A virus found in birds, H5N1 has infected and killed more than 200 people around the world in the past few years, leading to concerns about a pandemic and planning for such a possibility.

The guidelines won praise from a paramedic who runs the blog Avian Flu Diary.

“Having guidelines spelled out, and endorsed by major universities, medical centers, and government agencies is an important step in our pandemic preparedness,” wrote FLA_MEDIC.

Headline Links: Triage in a pandemic, countries hold drills

Opinion & Analysis: Good step

Related Topics: Bird flu, pandemics and their differences


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