Throughout the duration of the pandemic, one has come across countless stories of suffering and hardship caused due to the Coronavirus. Nearly two years in, the situation caused due to the global pandemic shows no variation. People the world over; have lost their lives and livelihood due to the virus.
Hospitals Resort To Rationing Medical Care Due To Rising Covid-19 Cases
Each country has braved first and second waves at different points in time. People have succumbed to the different variants that have evolved from the original strain of the virus. Now with the growing susceptibility to the Delta variant and the drop in vaccination rates, hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the growing number of patients.
Due to the large numbers of patients being admitted for treatment of Covid-19, hospitals are found to be understaffed to meet the growing need for medical care. Reports have come in detailing the difficulties faced by the Montana health care industry. St. Peter’s Health located in Helena is said to be functioning at critical levels and is reportedly unable to properly care for all the patients due to the large numbers coming in.
Dr. Shelly Harkins who works as the chief medical officer at St. Peter’s Health explains that the number of patients has exceeded the ability of the staff at the hospital. She says that unfortunately, the medical staff is unable to provide all patients with the same level of care. The hospital, according to Dr. Harkins, is currently functioning under crisis standards of care.
Usually, medical institutions operate in crisis standards when emergencies require caused due to events that have a devastating effect on a large number of people. For instance, when there are fatalities or injuries caused due to a mass shooting or a natural disaster, hospitals function at this critical level of care. During such emergencies, medical institutions and hospitals are forced to ration the number of care patients receives as there are not enough medicines, therapeutic treatments, or medical professionals available.
The debilitating effect is not seen in our one area of the country. Evidence of this fact is shown by the number of Covid-19 related deaths and cases that are rising. Currently, the United States of America has reported an average of about 1926 deaths caused or related to the Coronavirus per day. This number is one of the highest average deaths reported since March.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s foremost medical advisor on Covid-19 and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has stated that combating the virus will require a majority of Americans to get the Covid-19 vaccine. He explains that in order to prevent further deaths and illnesses those who are as yet unvaccinated need to take the vaccine immediately.
The unvaccinated members of the population are staggering. According to data recorded by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, only 54% of the total population of Americans have received the vaccine. This means that almost half the population is still vulnerable to the virus and its variants. This means that many people risk getting infected and spreading the virus to others.
Due to the lack of protection from the virus, patients are crowding hospitals in search of treatment. Doctors and nurses are forced to give varying levels of care to patients which are not enough to improve their health. According to data recorded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 80% of ICU beds are already occupied. 30 % of these beds are taken up by patients ts suffering from Covid-19.
Dr. Megan Ranney the associate dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University explains that health care providers are forced to watch patients die when in a normal situation they could have saved the patients. Due to the crisis standards that are in place due to the influx of patients, there are not many medical practitioners can do as they are stretched thin trying to care for multiple patients.
Dr. Ranney explains that as long as the situation causes hospitals to function at this critical level doctors, nurses, medical staff and other medical professionals will be forced to ration their care and medical supplies. She explains that in some instances patients may not get beds and some may not be afforded medical care either.
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