Alaska is the worst hit state with COVID-19 right now, but Idaho and Montana aren’t far behind. Now, these states are forced to ration out their healthcare.
Five other states are also over 90% capacity for available ICU beds. These include Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas.
The uptick in unvaccinated cases has caused hospitals to only provide things like ventilators to those who are most likely to survive and recover.
This gives healthcare providers the right to decide who gets what care when resources are too scarce for everyone to get the same care.
The standards explain exactly how medical staff go about making these decisions.
Rationing medical care includes postponing elective surgeries, seeing patients online instead of in person, and for more severe situations, which patients can use an ICU bed or be treated right in a hospital lobby.
In these unfortunately awful circumstances, a scoring system is utilized if they need to ration ventilators.
How they decide who gets the ventilators
Idaho and Montana look at a patients organ system before deciding, as well as a patients response to pain. These create higher “priority scores” for patients.
These states also base decisions on saving individuals with higher numbers of “life-years” so a person with cancer or illness receives a higher score.
In this scenario, patients with the lowest scores are rationed life saving care.
What if people have the same score and there still isn’t enough care?
In the case of a tie, youth will get care first.
Following youth are women at least 28 weeks into their pregnancies with healthy pregnancies.
Young adults are chosen over older adults.
If a person’s career is vital to public health they are also prioritized.
Finally, there is a lottery system in place.
If a person is not responding to the treatment of a ventilator, Idaho tells them to take them off for someone else who needs it.
Though nobody has had their life-saving equipment taken from them in Idaho to help save someone else, it’s possible it may come to that in the near future.
Vaccination status does not determine if a person is or is not given adequate medical care.