OVERWHELMED: Coronavirus burden may force Italians over 80 to be denied health care

Persons over 80 and those with underlying health conditions may be denied intensive care if Italy finds itself overwhelmed due to the high volume of coronavirus cases in the country.

In a strange turn of events, Italy has seemingly started to look at who gets to live and who gets to die as they face increasing challenges related to the COVID-19 disease. More than 1000 persons have died in Italy with over 15,000 infections.

Italy’s hospitals are beginning to strain under the growing number of patients needing treatment due to coronavirus. (Photo: Gulf News)

Italy has 5090 intensive care beds which currently exceeds the number of patients needing them. But if things take a turn for the worst, they will get selective about who gets them and those over 80 may not get a space.

News has emerged that a document has been developed by the crisis management unit in Turin, Italy that has set out specific criteria which indicates that if there are more cases than can be managed, then persons matching those criteria may not be provided with care.

The document is quoted as saying that, “the criteria for access to intensive therapy in cases of emergency must include age of less than 80 or a score on the Charlson comorbidity Index (which indicates how many other medical conditions the patient has) of less than 5.”

A tent has been constructed to accommodate medical personnel assisting the growing number of coronavirus patients in Italy. (Photo: Gulf News)

This now means that Italy, the country hit hardest by the coronavirus outside of China may have left a number of persons to face the challenge without access to public health services.

It is being reported that the document is already complete and only approval from a technical-scientific committee is needed before it is sent to hospitals and put into effect throughout Italy.