The intensive care beds are running out. Thuringia’s Prime Minister has already threatened unvaccinated people in his state with non-treatment. The Association for Intensive Care Medicine now emphasizes: That must not be.
From the point of view of intensive care physicians, the vaccination status of a seriously ill Covid patient must not play a role in the decision on further treatment. The German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) emphasizes this maxim in the updated version of its recommendations on how as many people as possible can be saved with scarce resources during the corona pandemic.
The medical obligation to provide assistance applies regardless of how the person concerned was previously, said Georg Marckmann, director of the Institute for Ethics, History and Theory of Medicine in Munich, on Friday.
“It is the case that we treat the lung cancer of smokers in the same way as the coronary heart disease of the overweight. And of course we will also treat the Covid disease of someone who has not been vaccinated,” said Marckmann. “As a colleague put it very aptly:” We are rescuers, not judges. “
Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) had already threatened at the beginning of November in view of the scarce intensive care beds in his state: There is a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. Ramelow continues: “We will no longer be able to guarantee anyone who comes to the hospital unvaccinated that they will still be treated in Thuringia at all.”
With the number of new infections, which has been increasing for weeks, the number of Covid patients who have to be treated in intensive care units is also increasing. In some regions, the clinics are already reaching their capacity limits, so that the question arises again as to which patients need to be treated in the case of limited resources. In this case, experts speak of triage or prioritization. In March 2020, eight medical societies developed recommendations that are now being updated.
The most important decision criterion remains the prospect of success of a treatment. All needy patients would have to be treated equally – non-Covid patients, for example with a heart attack or stroke, or cancer patients should not be disadvantaged compared to Covid 19 patients, the experts emphasize.