The chief of emergency medicine for the Alberta Medical Association says the major components of triage have already begun in Alberta.
Dr. Paul Parks said that in recent days some critically ill COVID-19 patients who should be on ventilators are not getting them. This is on top of the previously announced mass cancellations of surgeries along with patient transfers, as doctors balance medical need with available space, he said.
Parks said over the past two weeks it has become routine for hospitals to have some critically ill patients – most of them uninfected COVID-19 cases – placed on ventilators in main wards instead of intensive care units because They don’t have the resources.
“We already have positions in several hospitals in Alberta where doctors know it would be best for this patient to be in the ICU and on a ventilator, but we are not providing that option until They don’t crash completely. ,” Parks said in an interview Friday.
“We’re already implementing some of these things that are drastic and we wish we never had.
“People will suffer from it and die from it.”
Parks said it is not at a point where doctors must make decisions on the spot, life and death. But he said it’s not far off and, when it does come, a second phase of triage will quickly follow, including making the same decisions about children.
Alberta Health Services is doing everything he said, but the government has failed to lead by imposing loose health restrictions, allowing mass gatherings, including in schools and at sporting events.
Alberta is seeing more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day.
Parks said an immediate response is needed, including a mandatory mask everywhere and the closure of schools and mass gatherings.
Alberta Health Services chief Dr. Verna Yiu said on Thursday that a major reason is not a lack of intensive care wards because not enough COVID-19 patients are dying to free up bed space.
sign up for coronavirus update newsletter To read essential coronavirus news, features and explainers of the day, written by the Granthshala’s journalists and editors.