Hospitals weigh blanket DNR orders for coronavirus patients amid equipment shortages: report

March 26, 2020 / By Brie Stimson | Fox News

As hospitals across the country face shortages of personal protective equipment due to surges of coronavirus patients, health care professionals are reportedly privately discussing the possibility of a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients to mitigate the risks for those responding to a code blue.

“If we risk their well-being in service of one patient, we detract from the care of future patients, which is unfair,” bioethicist Scott Halpern at the University of Pennsylvania wrote in a circulated model guideline, according to The Washington Post. Still, he said a blanket do-not-resuscitate policy for all COVID-19 patients is too ”draconian.”

He suggested the patient’s doctor and another should sign off on case-by-case do-not-resuscitate orders for coronavirus patients, giving the reason to the family – although they don’t have to agree with it.

Richard Wunderink, an intensive-care medical director at Northwestern, said that many families are choosing to sign DNRs when hospital staff explain that having to put on protective gear before tending to a “coding” patient decreases the chance of saving their life.


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Chris J. Stewart

Chris currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Surgio Health as well as Chief Operating Officer at Ortho Spine Partners. Prior to that, he was the assistant vice president and business unit leader of Medical Device Management for HealthTrust Purchasing Group (HPG).

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