A HOSPITAL in London is giving ventilators to coronavirus patients with only a “reasonable chance” of surviving as the UK is gripped by the killer virus.
Imperial College Healthcare revealed it may not be in a serious patient’s “best interest” to be given the life-saving equipment as they would need it for two weeks.
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One senior consultant told The Telegraph: “As we learn more about the disease, we are being much more careful about which patients are being considered for critical care.
“In normal times we will give most people the benefit of the doubt. That has changed.
“Delaying their death for two or three weeks is not the right thing for them or for society.”
But the trust denied people are not being given care because of capacity problems as the coronavirus death toll continues to rise in the UK.
Professor Julian Redhead, medical director at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, told The Telegraph: “Clinicians at our trust are not making decisions about ventilating patients based on capacity considerations.
“Our trust currently has good capacity for patients requiring ventilation and already has plans in place to increase that capacity as needed.
“We know that very poorly patients with coronavirus may need to be on a ventilator for extended periods – for some patients this would not be in their best interests.
“Clinicians have to make difficult judgements on the balance of risk and benefit for patients all of the time and will also endeavour to discuss decisions with patients and families.”
Frontline staff at other London trusts have also told the newspaper critical care at their hospitals will be rationed to cope with the swell in patients.
The expected spike in Brits testing positive across the UK has already led to fears patients may have to share ventilators.
Britain is now racing to get its ventilator capacity up from 8,000 to 30,000 – but the NHS admitted most of them won’t be available for months.
The NHS is currently bracing itself for a “tsunami” of cases in London with one makeshift hospital, NHS Nightingale, due to open at the London ExCel centre on April 2.
Meanwhile, nurses from across the country will be drafted to the capital to help cope with the surge.
‘TSUNAMI OF CASES’
Health bosses will also scrap limits on the number of patients nurses can look after in intensive care wards.
Palliative care doctors are already urging everyone to have a conversation with their loved ones about what they would want if they, or those close to them, became seriously unwell with Covid-19.
According to reports, new guidelines are being produced for end of life care for coronavirus patients.
The unprecedented series of measures have been drawn up as London prepares for the pandemic to peak early next month.
An NHS spokesperson said: “There are hundreds of critical care beds available in London and thousands across the rest of the country so any patient that would benefit can get the care they need.”
It comes as Boris Johnson last night vowed “we will do this together” in his first self-isolation video since announcing he had tested positive for coronavirus.
‘STAY HOME, SAVE LIVES’
The Prime Minister issued a rallying cry in a short video on Twitter expressing his gratitude to the nation and hero NHS workers on the frontline.
Mr Johnson passionately declared: “We are going to do it. We are going to do it together.
“I think one thing coronavirus crisis has proved is that there is such a thing as society so thank you to all of you and remember, stay at home.
“Protect our NHS and save lives.”
The PM also gave thanks to the army of over 750,000 coronavirus volunteers who have signed up to help NHS workers in an incredible display of public spirit.
And he revealed 20,000 hero former NHS staff have also returned to the service to join the fight against the deadly disease.
His comments come as the death toll in the UK today rose to to 1,228 after 209 more deaths were announced.
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There are currently 19,522 people in Britain who have tested positive for Covid-19.
Last night, Mr Johnson warned things would “get worse before they get better,” suggesting tougher lockdown measures will be enforced if needed.
In a letter being sent out to British households this week, the PM writes: “It’s important for me to level with you — we know things will get worse before they get better.”
He adds: “We will not hesitate to go further if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do.”
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Dr Jenny Harries refused to rule out extending the lockdown, and suggested the restrictions would depend on the peak of the virus.
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, the medical expert explained the restrictions would be guided by the infection rate.