As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, doctors are now considering a scenario when there will be no more intensive-care beds left. An internal memo from the North Texas Mass Critical Care Guideline Task Force was made public, and it revealed that new guidelines are preparing for a possible crisis scenario. The recommendations prepare doctors for a triage decision, taking into account the vaccination status of a patient.
The e-mail sent after an online meeting contained three main ideas. First of all, since the vaccine reduces the severity of the virus, vaccine status may represent a factor when assessing survival chances for patients in the case of a potential triage. Secondly, ”When vaccination status is considered, accommodations may be needed when the reason for non-vaccination is beyond the patient’s control such as but not limited to caretaker refusal to have a disabled dependent vaccinated recent COVID-19 infection or medical contraindication.” Finally, medical professionals are encouraged to base triage decisions on the likelihood of survival, despite growing frustrations with persons who refuse the vaccine.
“I encourage the medical professionals on the task force to share these ideas within their respective organization ethics committees, triage committees, and/or any physicians who might be involved in triage decisions,” concluded the memo written by Dr. Robert Fine.
Dr. Mark Casanova has later declared that the vaccination status will not be, after all, taken into account as the sole factor by health care workers when making decisions regarding the care of a patient. Therefore, while health care workers might consider vaccination status, this will be simply another factor considered when deciding the likelihood of survival for a patient. It is also worth noting that these guidelines are for a level 3 crisis stage, which has not been reached yet. Unfortunately, many medical professionals believe that such a crisis is only a few weeks away.