A draft letter by one of southeast Michigan’s major hospital systems was leaked online Thursday revealing the hospital’s policy to prioritize care for “patients who have the best chance of getting better” in the event of a shortage due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter was drafted by officials at the Henry Ford Health System and is addressed to “our patients, families and community.” It outlines the criteria for which patients will be eligible for care if the hospital reaches capacity and is forced to ration limited resources. “Patients who have the best chance of getting better are our first priority. Patients will be evaluated for the best plan of care and dying patients will be provided comfort care.”
The letter explains the policy in the event of a shortage of ICU beds and ventilators: “If you (or a family member) becomes ill and your medical doctor believes that you need extra care in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Mechanical Ventilation (breathing machine) you will be assessed for eligibility based only on your specific condition.”
Some of the conditions that may make a person ineligible are listed as “severe heart, lung, kidney or liver failure; Terminal cancers; Severe trauma or burns.”
A statement issued Thursday night by Dr. Adnan Munkarah, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of Henry Ford Health System, confirmed the authenticity of the draft letter, but stressed that it reflects a “worst case scenario.”
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