‘Doctors have admitted that the most vulnerable patients could be denied critical care in a severe coronavirus outbreak, as they also warned that the UK is dangerously unequipped to deal with a pandemic.
Under protocol dubbed ‘Three Wise Men’, senior medics at hospitals would need to decipher which patients to give care such as ventilators and beds to, with a focus on saving those most likely to recover.
The medics spoke to The Independent in the wake of ‘dishonest’ assurances from the Government that the UK can handle the virus which is rapidly spreading across Europe.
At the time of writing, 82,564 people are known to be infected with the disease while 2,809 have died as a result.
The England-based medics told the publication that the already struggling health service would ‘crumble’ under the weight of a large outbreak, one lamenting that their hospital even struggled to contain this winter’s seasonal spate of flu and colds.
‘If you can imagine the real worst-case scenarios where supply is massively outstripped by demand we would have to refuse to admit many people who would normally get ventilated,’ one worried doctor said.
They added that Three Wise Men was developed by The Committee on Ethical Aspects of Pandemic Influenza ‘to minimise the harm the pandemic causes,’ despite disparities in care levels for sufferers.’
Read more: ‘Treating the elderly would be sacrificed if coronavirus overwhelms UK’: NHS would prioritise critical care for those most likely to survive rather than most vulnerable patients, senior doctors admit