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Our lockdown was supposed to protect the most vulnerable, the elderly, from Covid-19 – but we’re achieving precisely the opposite

17 69 119
07.04.2020

Covid-19 is a disease that is disproportionately dangerous to older people and those with serious underlying health conditions. The most frightening figures from the overall death toll attributable to the disease arise where health services are overwhelmed and cannot cope with large numbers of elderly people who have contracted it. In short, the lockdowns that we are seeing around the world should be largely justified by saving the lives of older people.

The trouble is that stories are also emerging which suggest that older people are not being protected anywhere near as well as we might expect. This first became apparent in Italy. Even as early as mid-March, there were reports that Piedmont had put in place guidelines to refuse intensive care for the over-80s if resources became too stretched.

It is true that old and frail people may simply not be well enough to benefit from being put on a ventilator. But having a policy simply based on age suggests the lives of older people are regarded as less important. In the Netherlands last week, there was controversy over older people receiving phone calls from doctors asking questions about intensive care treatment, such as being put on ventilation, should they become infected.

In the UK, there seems to be a proliferation in the use of ‘do not resuscitate’ orders (DNRs) – now formally called ‘respect forms.’ DNRs are valuable where a patient, their family and doctors agree........

© RT.com