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Hospitals in Massachusetts have new guidelines on who gets a ventilator.
A nationwide shortage of ventilators and other critical equipment, like N95 masks and medical gowns, has prompted states to plead with the federal government for more.
Massachusetts’ non-mandatory guidance asks that hospitals give patients a score, rating their chance of surviving and their overall health. The guidelines give preference to healthier patients, essential medical staff fighting COVID-19 and pregnant women.
If two patients’ tie, the younger one is given priority.
“There is a great sense of urgency” to have a decision-making blueprint, Dr. Robert Truog, director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, told the Globe. “We realize this all needs to be in place soon. It’s very important to have current guidelines that provide very concrete advice to hospitals about how to allocate these resources.”
Not everyone is on board with the guidelines, however.
Disability advocates argue those with mental or physical limitations could lose out, with a number of groups urging Gov. Charlie Baker to develop guidelines to prevent discrimination.
His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.
Massachusetts is only one state to form guidelines for hospitals to make these calls. Officials in Washington, ground zero for the virus in the U.S., and Pennsylvania, which issued guidance last month, have formed their own respective protocols.
GM and Ventec Life Systems will build 1,000 ventilators by the end of April.