States are being overburdened by COVID’s rationing of healthcare, and cancer patients are suffering the most.
Several jurisdictions have begun limiting health care as a worrying symptom of the rising spread of the Delta version of the coronavirus in areas with low vaccine uptake.
Idaho said earlier this week that it was increasing health care rationing across the state after a surge in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization depleted resources. Only about 40% of Idaho people are completely vaccinated.
Similar “crisis standards of care” have been implemented in some hospital systems in Alaska and Montana.
As other states approach capacity, they may follow suit. According to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, and Arkansas all have at least 90% of their intensive care unit beds occupied.
During the pandemic, some efforts were made to relieve the strain on overburdened hospitals, such as the postponing of elective procedures.
However, because of the limited resources available, like as ICU beds and ventilators, priority is given to patients who have a better chance of surviving.
According to the Associated Press, scoring methods are used to select which patients receive resources and others are just provided pain medication or other palliative care.
In both Idaho and Montana, a combination of characteristics is used to determine a patient’s “priority score,” with a lower number indicating that the patient is more likely to live and moving them up the resource list.
According to the Associated Press, those with cancer or other ailments that affect their life expectancy obtain better marks in both states since they save the most “life-years.”
COVID-19 hospitalizations, mostly made up of unvaccinated people, have reached record highs, depleting the quantity of staff, available beds, and necessary resources, according to Idaho officials.
“Our hospitals and healthcare systems require our assistance,” Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen said in a statement on Thursday.
“More individuals getting vaccinated is the best strategy to halt crisis standards of care. If you get sick with COVID-19, it greatly minimizes your odds of needing to go to the hospital. In addition, please wear a mask when going out in public and when it’s crowded outside. This is a condensed version of the information.