A Columbia University surgeon has described in a heart-wrenching letter how he and other doctors are now being forced to choose which non-coronavirus patients, including infants, deserve medical procedures.
“We have had to make decisions that I personally have never had to contemplate before,” Manhattan Dr. Emile Bacha wrote to friends and coworkers, according to CNN. “We have had to ration care and make decisions about who is considered an urgent or emergent case.”
Bacha — director of pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Washington Heights — said his pediatric-heart-surgery program is down to one operating team, and “only truly life-threatening problems are allowed.”
“We have to decide what to do about endless other cases, such as shunt-dependent infants, children with ventricular septal defects in heart failure, teenagers with bad valves, and so on — all families in need, looking for our help,” Bacha wrote.
The hospital recently gave new guidelines to its workers saying that nurses must focus on coronavirus care, leaving countless other procedures and surgeries to be postponed or canceled.
Across the country, states, have ordered the delay of non-urgent procedures, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, in an effort to combat the outbreak.