COVID-19 Treatments Should NOT be Restricted to Age

COVID-19 Treatments Should NOT be Restricted to Age

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Matthew R started this petition to Provincal & federal government in Canada and

As Canada fights the COVID-19 pandemic, “ethical frameworks” are being implemented as a guideline for medical staff. It has been spoken in recent days on mainstream Canadian news sources that certain provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia may implement age restrictions on who would be applicable for certain medical equipment such as ventilators. The stipulated age spoke in interviews was 60-65 years of age. Therefore people possibly 60 years or older may not have access to life-saving equipment if the pandemic increasingly grows. This was a practice Italy has implemented in its medical system. (source below) “In the midst of the outbreak’s peak in northern Italy, as physicians struggled to wean patients off ventilators while others developed severe respiratory decompensation, hospitals had to lower the age cutoff — from 80 to 75 at one hospital, for instance”.

COVID-19 is known to attack the respiratory system, while some people may be more susceptible to the virus, it has been proven that no one is immune to it regardless of their demographic. So why should medical professionals limit life-saving equipment to certain a group of people? If age is considered a factor of who or who doesn’t receive medical treatment, that is not only ethically wrong but against human rights as well. If treatments were limited to someone based on gender or race, it would be discriminatory. Why should age be any different? Unfortunately, COVID-19 hasn’t been around for an extended period to produce accurate studies, I have however sourced a study and it has found that (source below) “these outcomes are not explained by differences in mortality rate and suggest that mechanical ventilation should not be restricted in elderly patients with respiratory failure on the basis of chronologic age.” 

While it’s understandable that medical professionals are required to make difficult decisions, age should not be used as consideration for who lives or dies. As Canadian citizens, we all contribute to our publicly funded universal healthcare, therefore we should all be treated equally. This goes against Canadian values, we are a society that promotes and supports equality. I’m sure we all know someone over the age of 60. This can include anyone such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, neighbour, co-worker, etc. Or it may even be you. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, how would you feel then? I myself am 31 years old and I can’t even begin to imagine what someone 60+ years of age would feel about their potential future. And as it was quoted in a Global News article by an ethicist (source below) “loss of public trust, low hospital staff morale, confusion about roles and responsibilities, stigmatization of vulnerable communities and misinformation”.

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