Coronavirus: doctors in Spain told to choose patients who have 'more value to society'

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Doctors in Spain have been recommended to treat patients who have more than two years’ life expectancy and to evaluate a patient’s potential value to society when deciding who to treat first, a controversial piece of advice that represents the stark challenge facing medical workers in Europe and around the world.

The New York Times reported that an organisation working closely with intensive care providers said that “admitting someone may mean denying the entry to someone else who may benefit more from it,” in a report published last week.

Spain has been struggling to provide care for all of the elderly patients who need treatment relating to the coronavirus epidemic, which has been caused by the new strain Covid-19, which essentially given those infected the symptoms of chronic pneumonia.

Four women wearing face masks sit on the steps of the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus in London, Britain. EPA

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US President Donald speaks during the daily briefing on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, at the White House, in Washington, DC. AFP

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Police detain two street vendors to evict them from the train station in Santiago, Chile. AP Photo

The advice came as Spain’s death toll from the epidemic soared to 1,002 on Friday from 767 on the previous day, the country’s health emergencies chief Fernando Simon said.

The number of registered cases in the country rose to 19,980 on Friday from 17,147 on Thursday, Mr Simon said.

Adulation in Spain from balconies across the country is for the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers putting themselves at risk on the front lines of the pandemic that is forcing most residents to stay home. A 52-year-old nurse on Thursday became the first medical professional in Spain to die of Covid-19.

In Spain, people are singing Monica Naranjo’s popular cover of the disco-era tune I Will Survive with the lyrics tweaked to say “I will survive/I’ll look for a home/Among the rubble of my loneliness/Strange paradise/Where you are missed.”

Workers at one hospital responded with a video recorded in the facility’s corridors. Standing in a small group and wearing masks, they held up one sign after another with messages that included: “We are all in this together.” Then, they gave a minute of applause for their home-bound admirers.

The Spanish government is planning to introduce more measures to protect vulnerable groups from the effects of the epidemic, Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias said at a news conference on Thursday.

Mr Iglesias said the government would boost the capacity of nursing homes to treat the elderly, after a large number of cases and fatalities were reported in such centres.

On Tuesday, Spain announced a €200 billion ($215.74 billion) package to help companies and to protect workers and other vulnerable groups affected by the spiralling coronavirus crisis.

Updated: March 21, 2020 03:58 PM

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