As COVID-19 cases are steadily on the rise and hospitals struggle in their search for ventilators and holding rooms, doctors face the moral decision of which patients are turned away and which ones receive treatment. For many, this may now be a situation of “survival of the fittest.”
Ventilators have become scarce as more people contract the virus, leaving doctors to ultimately decide who lives and who dies. According to an article by CBS, an Italian priest passed away after giving up his ventilator in an attempt to save a younger life. This is possibly one of the hardest decisions that a human could ever make in a lifetime.
Although the current focus seems to be on the patients that are contagious with COVID-19, it may be easy to forget that there are still others who have mild or even life-threatening conditions. However, many of these cases are being dismissed due to the toll that the virus has taken on the country.
A doctor’s opinion on whose life is more important shouldn’t be the determining factor as to who receives treatment. All patients should be treated with the utmost importance, regardless of whether they have a common cold or are infected by COVID-19. According to HealthLine.com, it’s also crucial that doctors consider that some of their patients that have mild flu-like symptoms may even have the novel coronavirus.
Scheduling a doctor’s appointment has never been harder. Many offices have reached out to routine patients, postponing any upcoming appointments, until late April or May, with the exception of emergency situations. This means that most people with minor conditions have to suffer or find other forms of relief until the pandemic is over.
According to The Washington Post, doctors have now resorted to video-chat appointments and over-the-phone diagnosis. However, without a proper evaluation, these substitutes may not be fully reliable. An incorrect diagnosis could potentially cause severe health problems and even death.
As hospitals struggle to provide ventilators to patients, they also struggle to find available rooms to hold patients. As more people contract the virus, hospitals have the responsibility of housing patients for weeks at a time until patients are cleared. If people continue to ignore self-isolation guidelines, hospitals will most likely see an influx of these numbers and become overwhelmed with patients. Many hospitals have restricted visitor visits and are currently conducting drive-thru testing.
Many loved ones are suffering in isolation due to the current insufficient health care. Although many may be suffering from mild symptoms, those illnesses can develop into more serious conditions.
During the time of this pandemic, patients’ lives are in the hands of the doctor’s experience and knowledge. It’s up to doctors to make the right decision that’s best for society and patients. However, every patient should have the right to treatment, regardless of severity.
Kaylee Cox is a junior media arts and design major. Contact Kaylee at email@example.com.