B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about COVID-19 at a press conference Saturday, March 21, in Vancouver. (B.C. Government video still)

Doctors will have help with any ‘distressing decisions’ around which COVID-19 patients get ventilators

Provincial health officer says ethical framework in place

Doctors facing potentially “distressing decisions” around distribution of ventilators to patients will have guidelines and support, says B.C.’s top doctor.

When asked if there are enough ventilator units in the Island Health area and whether doctors would have to choose who would receive them, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. health officer, said the province has a strategy in place for that.

“No single physician will have to make those decisions in isolation,” Henry said during media availability Saturday, March 21. “We have an ethical framework and we have a provincial framework that supports how those decisions might be made, if and when they were ever necessary. But all of our planning is to support each facility around the province to make sure that we can react to where people are and where people are needing care, so this is not something that an individual physician will have to do on their own.

“These are terribly distressing decisions and I think it’s a reflection of the concern and what we’re seeing around the world that puts us in moral distress. We talk about it in the ethical world and we have a plan. We’ve been working on our ethical framework for this type of a situation for many years.”

As of Thursday, March 19, Island Health said it has 96 intensive care unit beds available and 140 ventilators, 22 of which are transport ventilators.

According to numbers provided by Henry on Saturday, there 424 cases of COVID-19 across the province, including 37 on Vancouver Island. Of all B.C. residents diagnosed, 27 are in hospital, 12 people are in intensive care and six have fully recovered.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said everyone must contribute in order to curb the pandemic.

“That is why all of the steps we’re asking people to take, to stop the spread of COVID-19, require 100 support,” said Dix at the press conference. “Because our ability that we are making significant changes in the health care system, we still have to take care of lots of people who are dealing with lots of other things and continue to make intervention in urgent matters … and that responsibility is collective and it’s also individual on everybody out there. On Vancouver Island and everywhere else.”

RELATED: Over 400 COVID-19 cases in B.C., 37 on Island

READ ALSO: Island Health isn’t sharing locations of COVID-19 cases for privacy reasons

-with files from Nina Grossman, Black Press


More from the News Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Clements applies for Community Trails and Recreation Program Grant

New hope for community trail projects impacted by reallocation of Rural Dividend money

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

COVID-19: Old Massett Emergency Operations Centre erects three checkpoints

Old Massett Village Council letter says checkpoint locations are New Town, Yakan Point, Old Massett

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Look at hospitalizations, not recovery stats for COVID-19, B.C. professor says

Cases in hospital are a definitive count of people who have the novel coronavirus

B.C. First Nations want to launch fight of Trans Mountain pipeline approval

Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada decided not to hear five challenges about the pipeline

N95 masks on the way for Canada after 3M reaches deal with White House

The Trump White House had ordered 3M to stop shipping masks to Canada

COLUMN: The other graph that shows B.C. can beat COVID-19

Is the curve being flattened? data on hospitalizations provides a crucial answer.

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

Most Read