Italy to stop treating coronavirus patients over 80 if outbreak worsens

The coronavirus pandemic that has hit Italy considerably worse than most other countries has forced them to take drastic measures.

Quinn Patrick Montreal QC

The coronavirus pandemic that has hit Italy considerably worse than most other countries might force them to take further measures such as making a cut-off age for intensive care patients carrying the virus.

Under a proposed emergency plan, Coronavirus patients over the age of 80 will no longer receive intensive care treatment if the crisis is to worsen, and it most likely will, according to the Daily Mail.

The emergency plans were drawn up in Turin, Italy, by civil protection officials who warned that "it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment" as the patients become too many. Within that criteria is that the patient must be under the age of 80.

The rapid spread of coronavirus is due, in part, to Italy's slow response to the pandemic. Recent footage out of Bergamo, a city that failed to enact strict social distancing until March 8th, has revealed just how grave the situation is.

The chat below reveals how steep the increase in coronavirus cases is in Bergano as a result of their slow response to the outbreak.

Italian doctors have already been making decisions about who can be treated or who must be left to die, many Italian doctors describing the scenes there as that of a "war."

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made a statement today staying that the country is about to enter its “riskiest weeks,” claiming that as a nation, “we have not yet reached the peak.”

Doctors will also factor in other details about a patient’s health that may complicate their recovery when making their priorities.

"Should it become impossible to provide all patients with intensive care services, it will be necessary to apply criteria for access to intensive treatment, which depends on the limited resources available," the document says.

Officials say the plans will force hospitals to 'focus on those cases in which the cost/benefit ratio is more favorable for clinical treatment,'as Italy is suffering the worst outbreak of any European nation.

Turin is located in the Piedmont region, which borders Lombardy, where the largest number of cases have been found.  The majority of cases in Lombardy were in small town but the major fear is that the virus will spread to Milan which could create an exponential amount of patients over a short period of time, exhausting the resources of their already stretched hospitals and health care workers.

Attilio Fontana, governor of Lombardy said the situation surrounding Milan is only "getting worse."

"We are close to the point where we will no longer be able to resuscitate people because we will be out of intensive care unit beds," Fontana told Sky TG24.

"We need those machines (doctors) use to ventilate lungs, artificial respirators that unfortunately we cannot find," Fontana said.

Milan’s mayor Beppe Sala, confirmed that he was able to secure shipments of surgical masks from China to help replace the growing shortage.

"Milan has always had excellent relations with the main Chinese cities and I made a few phone calls over the past few days in search of masks," the Milan mayor said.

"The first shipment arrived (Friday) and we will now distribute them to doctors, to our staff."

The European Commission also announced that Germany will deliver one million masks to Italy as well.

Another fear for the Italian government is that the poorer south of Italy will have a much more difficult time coping with it than the north of Italy, which is wealthier. Italian premier Giuseppe Conte has urged citizens in the north to stop travelling to the south on weekends.

"Scientists tell us that we have not yet reached the peak. These are the riskiest weeks and we need the utmost precaution," he said.

"Things like people leaving Milan on weekends to spend time with their family or at their residences in the south must absolutely stop.

"We can no longer afford behavioural errors," Conte told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The virus "is our most important challenge of the past decades," he said.

Italy has 24,747 confirmed virus cases and 1,809 deaths to date.


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