NYC Hospital Empowers ER Docs to ‘Withhold Futile Intubations’


Emergency-room doctors at a top academic medical center in New York City are being told they have “sole discretion” over which patients are placed on ventilators amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The head of the department of emergency medicine at NYU Langone Health, Robert Femia, told the doctors in an email obtained by the Journal that “we do not have the luxury of time, data, or committees to help with our critical triage decisions.” Instead, he urged doctors to “think more critically about who we intubate” with ventilators becoming scarce in hard-hit New York City. The doctors “will have support in your decision making at the department and institutional level to withhold futile intubations,” Dr. Femia wrote. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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    • No. License to withhold scarcely available resources. Every time someone dies from heart failure because they weren’t on top of donor list, where they murdered?

      The only ones who had license to kill were the ones who ignored the doctors and went out in public without taking proper precautions, thereby spreading the virus and directly leading to people’s deaths. The hospitals are just processing the bodies of the individuals they killed.

  1. Here is practical advice. Please contact anyone you know who works in a hospital in NY and NJ and ask them if it is true that their specific hospital is overloaded and maxxed out. Then report on here what you find out. Do not report anything if it does not come straight from a doctor or nurse or other professional who works at that hospital. I have begun to do this myself and will report what I find here. Do not use any names of the professionals. Just state the name of the hospital. I am fearful that some of the deaths we are hearing about may be because the hospitals are deciding who shall live and who shall die.

  2. Use other hospitals that do not allow personal biases to be involved in live or decision making. NYU is no longer a place for frum people. Remember when they blocked bikur cholim from going to patients with meals?

  3. You have one vent. You get 16 people in the ER all at once, all needing the vent (not unrealistic. After 42 years in the ER I can tell you this happens without CoVID). What would you do? Staff already is wearing 4-6 day old pPE none of which still filters anything. No one is sleeping. Cannot go home to family since mid March due to being contaminated. Sleeping in cars. Taking a bath in the sink. Who are you to criticize? The ones at the grocery store in N95 masks medical personnel need? The ones complaining because your favorite cookie isn’t available in bulk? God is watching

    • You criticize the state and federal government that has these items in bulk and has offers from suppliers to supply in bulk, and that has desperate requests from hospitals that need these items, yet cannot get around to actually acquiring, allocating, and distributing in an efficient mannerism.

      Right now, there is plenty of PPE either in or being offered to NYS, and there is no reason to assume there will be a shortage in the next few weeks in the country. The only thing there is realistic reason to assume there will be shortage of is ventilators. Everything else it seems can be purchased and manufactured in sufficient quantities, if only people cared enough. They passed a $2.2 TRILLION package, but they can’t spend an extra billion to ensure that hospitals are stocked? This is running like a federal project instead of military, with all the inefficiency and red tape and politics ect. Don’t blame the guys in the grocery store doing their best not to become your next patient when you agree that they will get substandard care and supplies due to the situation that can likely lead to their demise should hospitalization be necessary.

  4. I am Anonymous who asked for practical advice.
    I know hospitals are overwhelmed and I also know it’s certainly not the fault of staff.
    To Gary, this is very different from the people in a transplant list who are deteriorating while waiting for a heart (and in the meantime get standard-of-care).
    None of my family is going out, well before the rules, because we are scared. We are not going to the hospital, not for any reasons. By the way we do not live in NYC but this is going on basically everywhere, except perhaps for Singapore and the like, and except for the very poor countries where patients die at home and do not go to any ER, let alone in an apidemic.
    From what I understand, hospitals are not exactly deciding who shall live and who shall die, they are simply overwhelmed and unable to cope. Professionals (including people very far from Torah outlook) are burned out. There have been cases of suicide. This is not “Dr Death” and is not even quality of life discussion or whether treatment is in the best interest etc. It is a huge lack of
    1) Manpower (not easy to solve)
    2) PPE (Why?????)
    Kol Ha Kavod to the medical professional who wrote above

  5. “We have determined several weeks ago that the devices that anesthesiologists use for outpatient surgery can be converted with the change of a single vent to a very useful ventilator,” Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday in the daily COVID-19 task force press briefing. “We literally believe there are tens of thousands of ventilators that can be converted now.”

  6. Ventilators are not the simple answer. It is like if suddendly a load of surgeries are needed, so they would set up a factory of scalpels and start delivering them! Only a surgeon can do surgery, can only do them one at a time, needs a large staff or else can’t actually do the surgery, and there are 24 hours per day (medical staff also need to sleep a little and eat a little, you know).
    Also, operatory ventilators are fine to keep alive a patient in the short term. In the long therm there will be lung damage and impossibility to wean off the respirator. But I am sorry to say it won’t get to that, the staff can barely cope with the existing ICUs capacity. Getting hooked up to a respirator does not mean the patient receives the sort of care which is intended by current medical science so that they will live.


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