Italian Corona-virus patients who are 80 or older will not receive intensive care if the crisis worsens, under emergency plans being proposed in Turin.
The plans drawn up by civil protection officials warn that ‘it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment’ if there are too many patients.
Doctors have already described making life-or-death decisions about who can be treated and who may effectively be left to die. One doctor said a patient’s fate ‘is decided by age and by health conditions’, adding: ‘This is how it is in a war.’
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte warned today that the country is entering its ‘riskiest weeks’ as he signaled ‘we have not yet reached the peak.
A patient’s other health conditions will also be taken into account when beds in intensive care are allocated, according to the planning document.
Doctors will also consider whether they are likely to recover from resuscitation if they are taken to hospital in an emergency.
‘Should it become impossible to provide all patients with intensive care services, it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment, which depends on the limited resources available.
Officials acknowledge that the plans will force hospitals to ‘focus on those cases in which the cost/benefit ratio is more favorable for clinical treatment’.
Italian medics have already described how hospitals have been ‘overwhelmed’ by the health crisis, with Italy suffering the worst outbreak in Europe.
Some medics have been working from makeshift facilities, with tents springing outside hospitals to allow patients to be tested for Corona-virus.
There are also fears that the poorer south of Italy would be unable to cope if the virus spread as rapidly as it has in the wealthy north.
Italian premier Giuseppe Conte has warned that some people are continuing to travel south despite an unprecedented nationwide lock-down.
Scientists tell us that we have not yet reached the peak. These are the riskiest weeks and we need the utmost precaution,’ he said.
‘Things like people leaving Milan on weekends to spend time with their family or at their residences in the south must absolutely stop.
Italy has confirmed 24,747 virus cases and 1,809 deaths in the worst outbreak outside China.
The governor of Venice’s Veneto region also called on ‘everyone to remain in isolation’ to avoid putting hospitals under further strain.
‘If you do not follow the rules, the healthcare system will crash and I will have to impose a curfew,’ Veneto governor Luca Zaia warned.
Daily Mail / ABC Flash Point News 2020.