‘Let’s not sugarcoat it. It won’t be up to your own doctor…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) As the Wuhan virus grips New York City, government leaders and top health officials are grappling with rationing access to a limited supply of lifesaving breathing ventilators—although the tragic scenario could have been prevented had Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo exercised a little foresight and rejiggered his priorities.
New York City is now the epicenter of the disease in the United States, with more than 30,000 confirmed infections as of 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
The coronavirus attacks the lungs to the extent that it makes breathing difficult, if not impossible, without the aid of the artificial breathing device. The number of patients could soon overwhelm hospitals, and there are 16,000 fewer ventilators in the entire state than needed to keep with current patient projections.
That much was known as far back as 2015, when the state government conducted a review of ventilator resources as a precaution for an influenza pandemic and established guidelines for rationing care if the state’s ventilator supply remained insufficient.
Cuomo — who is being praised by many Democrats for alleged great leadership during the crisis and has been suggested as a unifying candidate at a potentially brokered Democrat convention — could have initiated the purchase of the ventilators any time over the past four to five years, but he didn’t.
“Cuomo could have purchased the additional 16,000 needed ventilators for $36,000 apiece or a total of $576 million in 2015,” wrote Betsy McCaughey, the former Lieutenant Governor of New York, in a syndicated commentary. “It’s a lot of money but less than the $750 million he threw away on a boondoggle ‘Buffalo Billion’ solar panel factory.”
The New York Times and ABC News are also reporting that “ethics” committees and officers will be tasked with deciding who will be granted access to one of the emergency breathing devices and who will not—effectively deciding who lives and who dies.
Patients assigned a red code will be given immediate access, while patients assigned a green, yellow or blue code would receive ventilator treatments in descending order.
“Let’s not sugarcoat it,” wrote McCaughey. “It won’t be up to your own doctor.”
Sam Gorovitz, a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University and member of the 2015 New York ventilator taskforce, told the Guardian newspaper that he is “100 percent certain” that new coronavirus-related death panel revisions to the state’s ventilator allocation guidelines will be used soon, if not already.
“Consider a patient, 85 years old, on a ventilator, out of hospice care. Along comes a 45-year-old, with a family, and in fundamentally good health and a good prospect of full recovery from Coronavirus if treated with the best available treatment,” said Gorovitz.
“Is it not only acceptable but ethically necessary to take grandpa off the ventilator and switch him to palliative care, wipe away the tears, and switch the ventilator to the younger patient?” he continued.
Gorowitz added that “everyone knows it’s coming and those decisions are likely being made right now.”
The shocking acceptance of the so-called “utilitarian approach” to medicine is an unseemly hallmark of socialized health care like Britain’s National Health Service and Italy’s universal national health care system where coronavirus infections have reached a staggering 7 percent fatality rate.
Although hospitals in affected areas of the U.S. are expected to face severe shortages of equipment, supplies and medical personnel in the coming weeks, New York’s ventilator crisis appears to be borne from massive incompetence.