COVID Not the Only Threat to Disabled Americans

COVID Not the Only Threat to Disabled Americans

( – Possibly the most dangerous aspect of the coronavirus outbreak is how quickly hospitals could get overwhelmed. When that happens, as we are seeing in Italy, doctors have to decide who gets treated and who’s left to die.

For those with disabilities, the risk is even higher as they could even have their ventilators confiscated.

In Italy, the hospitals have become so overcrowded, their resources are stretched beyond their limits. Because they simply can’t treat everyone, people over 80 are being left to die. In Israel, the situation is even direr as those over 60 are unable to receive intensive care treatment.

There aren’t enough beds or ventilators, and there are too many sick people for doctors to help everyone. So they’re making choices, determining who has the best chance to survive and who they think will die anyway. Doctors in the US are now preparing to make these choices as well.

So, where does that leave people with disabilities? Not in a good place. People who already use ventilators to breathe face the risk of having their ventilator taken away and given to another patient if they show up in an emergency room with COVID-19.

According to the Ventilator Allocation Guidelines of the New York State Department of Health, patients with a ventilator who visit the emergency room with coronavirus are at risk. Doctors can confiscate it if they think another patient could benefit from that ventilator more.

This is a terrifying prospect for anyone with a disability who depends on a ventilator to survive.

There is a word for this: Eugenics. And we better pay attention because if socialized medicine ever becomes a reality in this country, these kinds of decisions will be common — and they won’t just affect the disabled.

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