Hospitals across the country are considering universal do-not-resuscitate orders for all patients with the coronavirus over concerns that efforts to save infected patients will spread the disease to doctors and nurses.
Medical professionals have raised concerns specifically about the response when a patient “codes,” meaning they’ve gone into cardiopulmonary arrest.
“It doesn’t help anybody if our doctors and nurses are felled by this virus and not able to care for us,” one Intensive Care Unit physician, who asked to remain anonymous, told The Washington Post. “The code process is one that puts them at an enhanced risk.”
“From a safety perspective you can make the argument that the safest thing is to do nothing,” said Bruno Petinaux, the chief medical officer at George Washington University Hospital. “I don’t believe that is necessarily the right approach. So we have decided not to go in that direction. What we are doing is what can be done safely.”
“It’s a major concern for everyone,” added Richard Wunderink, an intensive-care medical director at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. “This is something about which we have had lots of communication with families, and I think they are very aware of the grave circumstances.”
“We are now on crisis footing,” said Lewis Kaplan, surgeon and president of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. “What you take as first-come, first-served, no-holds-barred, everything-that-is-available-should-be-applied medicine is not where we are. We are now facing some difficult choices in how we apply medical resources – including staff.”
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