Italian coronavirus 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 signalled that ‘we have not yet reached the peak’.
According to the daily mail,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,’ the document says.
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.