Coronavirus UK: doctors may need to choose who is most likely to survive

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London ambulance staff members are seen with vehicles in the parking lot of the ExCeL London exhibition center in London on April 1, 2020, which was converted into an NHS Nightingale hospital to help the new COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic . - Britain reported a record daily death toll of 381 cases of coronavirus on March 31, including a 13-year-old boy, more than double the number of deaths recorded in the country in the past 24 hours. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP via Getty Images)
London Ambulance staff at the Excel center which has been turned into a coronavirus hospital (Photo: AFP)

New advice to doctors has warned that patients with coronavirus may be withdrawn from their treatment and offered to others who are more likely to survive.

The latest ethics council of the British Medical Association (BMA) said that healthcare professionals could be forced to make “serious decisions” if hospitals were overcrowded.

The document warns that decisions about rationing scarce resources, such as ventilators, could determine whether a large number of patients will receive life-saving treatment or not.

The new direction of the BMA aims to ensure that physicians have clear and “ethical” support if they have to make difficult decisions about patient care during the pandemic.

Soldier walks past fence at Excel center about to take first wave of coronavirus patients (photo: Reuters)

Dr. John Chisholm, Chairman of the BMA Medical Ethics Committee, said: “For the next few weeks, if tough choices are needed, we know they will be challenged. There will be anger and pain.

“People who under normal circumstances would receive painful treatment may instead receive palliation to favor those who are more likely to benefit.

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“No one wants to make these decisions, but if resources are exceeded, these decisions must be made. “

BMA guidelines state that during the peak of the pandemic, doctors may have to assess a person’s eligibility for treatment based on “ability to benefit quickly.”

“Healthcare professionals may be forced to withdraw treatment from certain patients to allow treatment for other patients with a higher probability of survival,” said the guide.

“This may involve stopping treatment of a stable or even improving individual, but whose objective assessment indicates a worse prognosis than another patient requiring the same resources.”

It turns out that the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK has jumped from 563 in one day to 2,352, the largest daily increase in deaths to date.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video posted on Twitter that it was “a sad, sad day” and that “his thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

Meanwhile, Downing Street said more than 2,000 NHS workers have so far been tested for the coronavirus.

During the daily briefing, Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England (PHE), said that 10,000 coronavirus tests per day are currently being performed and that the goal is to reach 25,000 tests by the half April.

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She said the intention was to “go from thousands to hundreds of thousands” of tests for frontline workers in the coming weeks.

PHE has been criticized for testing members of the public more widely with Covid-19.

He has repeatedly stated that most adults who develop symptoms recover fully and do not need to be tested.

However, many scientists disagree and say it is only through widespread community testing that the UK will be able to track the virus and break the lock.

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