Hospitals across Oklahoma are becoming so full, healthcare systems are working together to discuss potentially triaging care for COVID-19 patients.
Triaging care means doctors will make the tough decision on which patients get a higher level of care.
“From an ethical standard, it’s to try and save as many lives as possible or life years,” said the Chief Medical Officer for Integris, Dr. Julie Watson. “Part of the prioritization process takes into account a patient who is 95 versus someone who is five. A patient with a terminal illness with a prognosis of a year to live, versus a healthy 21-year-old.”
It’s called Crisis Standards of Care and it may be put in place if local regions six and eight move into tier four of the state’s hospital surge plan.
“That we are here, that we have exhausted all resources. We literally have no hallways we can put a patient in, no conference center we have taken down and made care centers,” said Dr. Watson.
To get to that level, there has to be 40% of patients in the hospital with COVID-19.
Right now, we’re teetering on that at just over 38% with 1,902 Oklahomans fighting the virus in hospitals across the state.
“Know there is a collaboration of the health systems, that we want to avoid crisis standards of care. That we are in lockstep with one another if, god forbid, we had to go there,” the doctor said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Watson is urging people to be extra careful and to follow safety protocols so we don’t get to that point.