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COVID-19: Hospitals in California Adjusting Care Based on Patient Surge

This is not a drill!

by Eric Holdeman / January 3, 2021

Back in the middle of November, I did a blog post about the looming need for hospitals to have to pick and chose which patients get care: "COVID-19: Hospitals Doing Triage." Back then, I thought it was rural hospitals who would primarily being doing this. However, today it is urban hospitals.

Now more recently, with the Christmas surge of patients being anticipated and hospitals in Southern California already overwhelmed, they are publicly stating that they will have to institute a crisis standard of care, which is defined at this link. I noted in the definition the "social worth" of the individual was not to be considered. Decisions are to be made purely on the medical status of the patient. 

Way back when, in emergency management training classes there were times that an exercise in priority setting would be done in small groups. One challenge was "who to save?" based much upon "social worth" because it was not about a person's medical condition. For example, save the baby over the 80-year-old man (Dr. Fauci), yet the man was a researcher about to discover a cure for a disease. You get the picture. There was no one right answer, but you had to engage with your table partners and argue your case.  

Today it is not a training exercise or a drill. This is real life!

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