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

Castlegar doctor’s offices remain open for phone, video and in-person appointments

Doctors concerned people may be neglecting health concerns for fear of catching the COVID-19

Castlegar hospice director says COVID-19 measures make serving the dying heartbreaking

Social distancing brings big challenges to offering support

Over 440 complaints issued in 3 months about Central Kootenay governments: B.C. Ombudsperson

Most common complaints were about decisions and bylaw enforcement in local governments

Selkirk Saints add two key players to roster for upcoming season

Goaltender Jake Anthony and forward Carson Erhardt have officially joined the team

Selkirk College gives back during COVID-19 crisis

Staff have been delivering grocery items and medical supplies to those in need during pandemic

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Most Read