Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health care providers around the country have been expressing concern that anxious Americans and patients don’t really understand what is involved with the various medical interventions needed as a result of this contagion. Further education of the public and attorneys is needed, as are changes to your standard form Advance Medical Directives.
One major issue is the fact that the illness caused by the COVID-19 virus often results in the patient needing to go on and then come off a ventilator. It is common sense that potential ventilator patients need to understand what is actually involved with ventilator use, in order for a potential ventilator patient to decide when and whether he or she would want a ventilator in the event of a serious illness such as that caused by the coronavirus. Ventilators have of course been helpful in saving the lives of many people with COVID-19, but are they worth the discomfort and long-term effects when they don’t always work and there may be other less extreme options?
In a recent example, Diana Aguilar, 55, spent 10 days on a ventilator in a New Jersey hospital fighting for her life. When her fever hit 105 degrees and she was delirious, Diana remembers having tough time breathing. The virus had already been ravaging her body and affecting her lungs for weeks. She recalls a doctor sliding a ventilator tube into her mouth and pushing life-saving oxygen deep into her damaged lungs. What Diana was unaware of is the damage ventilators often inflict and the slim odds of survival they afford. Studies suggest more than two-thirds of patients die while on ventilators
The Practical Lawyer
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