Published on: April 26, 2020

This is bad news; but we must face it and plan suitably. In a study published on 24 April 2020 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) titled Presenting Characteristics, Comorbidities, and Outcomes Among 5700 Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the New York City Area, the authors find that mortality was 88.1% among those subjected to artificial ventilation of the lungs.

So what would be the rational course to pursue? If a team does a triage, it would be possible to make a fair guess about the people whose chances are better and whose chances are next to nil. In the latter category, infliction of a ventilator would add intense physical and emotional torture. They should be offered palliative care and comfort for the reminder of their lives, whether it be hours or days.

Richardson S, Hirsch JS, Narasimhan M et al. Presenting Characteristics, Comorbidities, and Outcomes Among 5700 Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the New York City Area. JAMA. 2020 Apr 22. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6775. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2765184