The pandemic: A time to get your paperwork in order

Monday, March 30, 2020
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

doctor with patientA legal expert suggests the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is a wakeup call for people to get their wishes for medical treatment in writing.

There’s been some concern that American hospitals may eventually ration healthcare because of the virus, which could mean a reduction or elimination of services -- especially for those who are elderly or disabled. Life Legal Defense Foundation spokeswoman Alexandra Snyder explains that while the coronavirus has not had that impact in the U.S., it’s best to be prepared.

“... We have seen really severe rationing of care in Italy, for example, where patients over a certain age are [not receiving the care they need],” she tells OneNewsNow. “I'm not saying they're being denied care outright, but they are far, far less likely to receive care than younger patients with coronavirus.”

Italy, by far, outdistances all other countries in the number of deaths attributed to the virus, although Spain’s numbers (#2 in total deaths) have been closing that gap in recent days.

Snyder

Snyder maintains that the pandemic is a clear call for people to get their end-of-life documents in order so that they have an advance directive on file with their physician and hospital.

“If they already have an advance directive, [they should] take a look at what it says” she advises. “You definitely at this time want to make sure that your advance directive says that you would like treatment such as ventilator treatment, such as artificial nutrition and hydration, [and] things like that over a longer period of time.”

As for Americans with a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, Snyder suggests they are less likely to receive care if the U.S. sees a scenario similar to what Italy has experienced.

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