- A shortage of medical supplies and hospital beds in Italy is forcing doctors to have to choose which coronavirus patients to save.
- Right now, the young and otherwise healthy are treated as priority, according to Politico.
- Italy is on lockdown as more than 9,000 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As the number of coronavirus patients continues to rise in Italy, with most of them in the northern Lombardy region, anesthesiologists and doctors are being forced to make tough calls about whom to treat first, according to Politico.
Right now, doctors are prioritising the young and otherwise healthy because they have the greatest chance of survival, Politico reported.
“We do not want to discriminate,” Luigi Riccioni, an anesthesiologist who is head of the ethical committee of Siiarti, told Politico. “We are aware that the body of an extremely fragile patient is unable to tolerate certain treatments compared to that of a healthy person.”
Riccioni coauthored new hospital guidelines for prioritising treatment of coronavirus patients, according to Politico.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte put all of Italy under strict lockdown from Tuesday onward after the country’s infections zoomed past 9,100 on Monday.
The country’s 60 million citizens now face restrictions on all aspects of life, including retail, leisure, worship, and travel.
In hospitals, workers are scrambling to meet the demand, and increase the number of beds available in intensive care units, according to Politico.
Doctors, some of whom are picking up the extra shifts of colleagues who have fallen ill, are under high pressure.
In an interview in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Monday, the anesthesiologist Christian Salaroli compared the situation in hospitals to wartime.
“We decide based on age, and on health conditions. Just like all war situations,” he told the paper. “It’s not me that decides but the book manuals we studied.”
Salaroli went on to say that if a patient came to the hospital with severe respiratory failure, it’s likely that the doctor “won’t go ahead” with treatment.
Business Insider’s Claudia Romeo provided translation for this article.
- Read more about the coronavirus:
- Coronavirus live updates: Here’s everything we know
- The US has reported 21 coronavirus deaths among over 550 cases. Here’s what we know about the US patients.
- California, Washington, and New York have declared states of emergency to fight coronavirus – here’s what it means
- The new coronavirus lives on surfaces for “hours to a day,” one expert says. Here’s how to disinfect them properly.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.