PISC Senior Scholar Megan Lane-Fall, MD, recently authored an op-ed on the impending ventilator shortage due to the COVID-19 outhbreak. With a total of about 200,000 ventilators in the United States, the hospital system is not equipped to handle the projected 900,000 cases. To Lane-Fall this signals that she, her colleagues, and her counterparts everywhere will be forced to decide who will live and who will die.
Lane-Fall highlights three measures that can be taken as a society to reduce the impact of the virus. First she says we must slow the spread of the virus. By decreasing the number of people who need a ventilator at any one time, the greater the chance of saving more seriously ill people. Second, we need more ventilators. Though this something many people are working on, it does take time. Finally, she states that people need to start having difficult conversations about what life support they would want if they become gravely ill.
In the end, Dr. Lane-Fall pleads to people to "Please do your part to forestall this catastrophe. Start with staying home.".