NHS doctors face “grave decisions” over who lives and who dies according to new guidance issued over life saving treatment for coronavirus patients.
Should hospitals become overwhelmed with infected patients then doctors will have to make those decisions, the latest guidance from the British Medical Association (BMA) states.
The BMA guidance warns of decisions in rationing scarce resources of ventilators which means a large proportion of patients may not receive the lifesaving treatment.
The BMA reports says, NHS staff will face “grave decisions which means some patients may be denied intensive forms of treatment that they would have received outside a pandemic.
“Health professionals may be obliged to withdraw treatment from some patients to enable treatment of other patients with a higher survival probability.
“This may involve withdrawing treatment from an individual who is stable or even improving but who’s objective assessment indicates a worse prognosis than another patient who requires the same resource.”
Dr John Chisholm, chairman of the BMA’s medical ethics committee said, “Looking ahead to the coming weeks, if hard choices are required, we know they will be contested. There will be anger and pain.
“People who, in normal circumstances, would receive strenuous treatment may instead be given palliation in order to favour those with greater likelihood of benefiting.
“Nobody wants to make these decisions, but if resources are overwhelmed, these decisions must be made.”
The Department of Health said, the deaths happened in the 24 hours before 5pm on Tuesday, and 29,474 people have tested positive for coronavirus, up by 4,324 since Tuesday.