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

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Lake Country Food Bank welcomes wheelbarrow load of donations

Rotary Club presents symbolic cheque for the $24,600 raised since August 2018

WATCH: North Okanagan seniors stay fit in self-isolation

Residents have taken to their balconies to follow along in exercise class

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

COVID-19: North Okanagan spring leagues wiped out

Ladies softball, indoor and beach volleyball leagues shut down over pandemic

COVID-19: Interior Crisis Line calls increase

Calls directly related to pandemic up 25 per cent over final two weeks of March

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read