A surge in coronavirus cases in rural Texas has forced one hospital to set up “death panels” to decide which patients it can save and which ones will be sent home to die.
Doctors at Starr County Memorial hospital, the only hospital in Starr county, have been issued with critical care guidelines to decide which Covid-19 patients it will treat and which ones will be sent home because they are likely to die. The committee is being formed to alleviate the hospital’s limited medical resources so doctors can focus on patients with higher survival rates.
Starr county began experiencing increases in coronavirus cases in early July, with 1,769 confirmed cases reported as of 24 July, 17 confirmed fatalities and 33 fatalities pending confirmation from the state. The county had gone several weeks in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic without reporting any cases. Starr county, along the US-Mexico border, has a population of around 64,000 people.
Officials blamed social gatherings for the surge in cases.
“We are seeing the results of socialization during the 4th of July, vacations, and other social opportunities,” wrote Starr county Judge Elroy Vera on the county’s Facebook page. “Unfortunately, Starr County Memorial Hospital has limited resources and our doctors are going to have to decide who receives treatment, and who is sent home to die by their loved ones.”