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05 Apr 2020
Covid-19 crisis
Suggestion View - 219
Use scarce resources fairly and effectively

Many hospitals around the world are facing this difficult decision. They ICU and ventilators are fully occupied. They have new patients who need ventilators. What should they do?

They have no choice but to turn away the new patients. Sorry, we do not have any bed for you.

In some hospitals, they have to take away the old patients to release the bed and ventilator to a younger patient, who has a better chance of survival. It is a very difficult decision.

Someone has to decide. If you are in charge, how do you decide?

One approach is to limit the use of the ventilators for a certain period. Beyond that period, the patient has to be taken off the ventilator so that it can be used by the next patient.

This period should be set to be sufficient to provide the best help to the patient. I believe that the medical doctors will know how to set this limit.

After being taken off the ventilator, the patient can hopefully continue the recuperation without a ventilator. Some may not cope. If they continue with the ventilator, it may not do any good either.

It is a difficult decision. But it has to be taken. Set a limit on the number of days that a patient can be on ventilator - so that it can be released to the other people who need it.

Tan Kin Lian

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