Some hospitals consider universal DNR policy amid coronavirus

Created: March 26, 2020 06:56 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The problem facing doctors and nurses is a dwindling supply of protective equipment like masks, gowns and gloves.

Without these supplies, the risk may be too great to respond the way they are trained which is to save a life at all costs.


Hospitals like Northwestern Memorial in Chicago have been discussing a "Do-Not-Resuscitate" policy for infected patients, regardless of the wishes of the patient or his or her family.

The shortages are so critical, doctors and nurses in one Massachusetts hospital save their masks in bags to use over again instead of changing them after each patient.

When a patient is near death or codes, the dangers are greatest to healthcare professionals. Saving that person can mean the exchange of a lot bodily fluids.

Currently, Northwestern has asked the Illinois governor for help to clarify state law.

Healthcare providers are bound by oath and, in some states, by law to do everything to save lives, but the coronavirus is changing that and creating yet another dilemma for healthcare professionals.

So far, there is no word on discussions at hospitals in New York, but they are certainly likely to be going on privately and, at some point, lawmakers may have to decide.

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