An article in yesterday’s (May 5, 2008) Fargo Forum was entitled “Who Should Doctors Let Die in a Pandemic?” A group of eminent researchers and doctors from around the world have decided that certain people will be expendable when health care during a flu pandemic is at a premium. It’s not that these people will be executed or euthanized; however, when beds and medicine are scarce, these people will probably be parked in the hospital broom closet along with the mops and Pine Sol.
So here they are:
· If you’re older than 85, you will need to lie about your age to get an aspirin.
· If you are the victim of a severe trauma (such as a gunshot or car accident), they aren’t going to waste the time on you (they figure if you were stupid enough to get yourself shot or smashed, you asked for it).
· If you are a severe burn victim over the age of 60 (60??? Life just begins at 60!), you will probably just be brought directly to the morgue. (Lesson? No playing with matches during a pandemic.)
· If you have severe mental impairment, including Alzheimer’s, they will not waste a Band-Aid on you.
· If you have any severe, chronic disease like heart failure, lung disease, or unmanageable diabetes, you are a goner.
Well, that about takes care of everyone I know.
It seems like if you are a little old, a little bloody, a little dotty, somewhat on the crispy well-done side, or have a medical chart more than ½-inch thick, you might as well call the funeral home and make the arrangements. The medical community will not have the time or inclination to help you.
With these standards, flu victims such as the Pope Bendict XVI, George H.W. Bush, Paul Newman, several hundred Iraqi War veterans, and a few firefighters who fought the blaze at the World Trade Center on 9/11 would all be shuffled to a side hallway in the hospital. Meanwhile flu victims O.J. Simpson, child pornographer Chester Molester, and Brittany Spears would be given the presidential suite on the top floor of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
I think we might need to put those researchers and doctors back into their conference room and not let them out until they come up with a better pandemic plan.