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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Vandals deface Aldergrove elementary school with racist slur, male genitalia

Langley School District confirms it has filed a report with the Langley RCMP

‘Our hands are tied’: Langley Good Times Cruise-In announces cancellation due to COVID-19

People are encouraged to donate to the chosen Langley charities online, said Cruise-In director

Langley Township lifts evacuation alert as flooding threat drops

People are still advised to avoid the Fraser River due to fast running water

Langley nurse wins yard makeover in contest for frontline workers

The free yardwork helped relieve some of the stress for a Willoughby nurse and mom

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read