The Italian Government announced new guidelines, denying intensive care treatment to those over 80.
The orders are to save scarce resources for those patients who have the greatest chance of survival. That means prioritizing younger, otherwise healthy patients over older patients or those with pre-existing conditions.
The Government ordered that only patients “deemed worthy of intensive care” should get it. The principle of “first come, first served” has been abandoned, said Mario Riccio, an anesthesiologist who works at a hospital in Cremona.
In an interview that went viral after it was published in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera Monday, Christian Salaroli, an anesthesiologist from a hospital in Bergamo, recounted scenes of wartime triage, where old patients were left by the wayside. “The choice is made inside of an emergency room used for mass events, where only COVID-19 patients enter. If a person is between 80 and 95 and has severe respiratory failure, he probably won’t make it.”
A leak of the draft document published in major newspapers a day earlier sparked panic in the region, as tens of thousands of people reportedly headed south to escape the quarantine measures.
Image Credit: Giorgio Galeotti / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)