The New York State Task Force on Life and the Law and the New York State Department of Health release “VENTILATOR ALLOCATION GUIDELINES” with accompanying letter from Howard A. Zucker, commissioner of health, and member of the task force. The report:
- Recommended legislation giving authority to the New York State commissioner of health “to adopt a modified medical standard of care specific to the emergency, coupled with civil and criminal liability protections and professional discipline protections for all health care workers and entities who provide care in a pandemic emergency.”
- Provided an estimate of need for ventilators for 89,610 persons during a six-week severe outbreak of influenza, concluding that “there will not be enough ventilators in the State to meet the demand. A clinical ventilator allocation protocol will need to be implemented to ensure that ventilators are allocated in the most efficient manner to support the goal of saving the greatest number of lives. …”
- Concluded that “The duty to plan is the responsibility of government to plan for a foreseeable crisis.”
- Cited the annual U.S. influenza toll, including “a large number of the very young and elderly (i.e., more vulnerable populations) die every year”
- Numbered the ventilators in New York State:
7,241 ventilators in acute care settings
1,750 ventilators stockpiled, available “at all times”
Total of 8,991 ventilators in New York
- Stated “there are no current plans to buy enough ventilators for the most severe model” of a pandemic. The reasons: There was “the need to maintain adequate funding for current and ongoing health care expenses.”
The report anticipated a severe staffing shortage during a pandemic and said “purchasing additional ventilators beyond a threshold will not save additional lives, because there will not be a sufficient number of trained staff to operate them.”
- Noted the 1,902 ventilators in chronic care facilities and nursing homes. These ventilators “may eventually enter the wider pool” of ventilators when those chronic care patients become ill enough to be transferred to acute care hospitals but are deemed ineligible for ventilator therapy there.
Feb. 27, 2019
The Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester reports: “The number of residents in New York aged 65 and older grew 26 percent over the past decade compared to an overall population that grew just 3 percent over the same period, a report Wednesday found. ...
“Nearly one in six New Yorkers was 65 and over, representing 16 percent of the total population—more than any other age group, according to the report's review of census data.”