prior to the emergency moment with the responsibility for the decisions that may be made.
In an article in the 27 March 2020 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), it was noted that this can be beneficial as it allows a person’s family to agree with the medical advice on offer: remembering that the doctors will be weighing up any number of factors, including who could benefit most from the precious use of the ventilator.
While some media reports have suggested that this is ‘euthanasia by stealth’, the cold hard facts are that limited health resources have often needed to be prioritised in ways that were previously unimaginable. For older people and those with the much- reported ‘underlying conditions’, COVID raises profound and confronting questions. While an advance directive and health proxy may be useful for those who want to take their chances with a hospital admission, for others the onset of COVID might signal something else: perhaps now is the time to go?
For those who reject the idea of a COVID hospital admission, the COVID chapter in the handbook is essential reading.