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Doctor in Italy says he and other physicians are no longer permitted to put coronavirus patients who are over 60 on ventilators

Dire straits

Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images

An Israeli doctor in Italy said that he and other physicians have been directed to avoid giving over-60 patients ventilator treatment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What are the details?

According to the the Jerusalem Post, Dr. Gai Peleg said that instructions in Parma, Italy, do not allow such treatments to patients over 60.

Italy has seen at least 59,138 COVID-19 cases, and over 5,476 people in Italy have died as a result. There were 3,405 deaths as of Thursday.

The Post reported, "Peleg said that, from what he sees and hears in the hospital, the instructions are not to offer access to artificial respiratory machines to patients over 60 as such machines are limited in number."

Friday saw the distressing scene of an Italian hospital in Bergamo, which was packed full of COVID-19 patients. The video, which was first shared by Sky News, showed hospital staff furiously working to tend to gravely ill patients.

Dr. Roberto Cosentini, head of emergency care at Bergamo's Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital, said that the disease is far worse than influenza.

"It's a massive strain for every health system," he said. "We see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen. And so we had to reorganize our emergency room and our hospital — three levels of intensive care."

What about bed availability?

Lorenzo D'Antiga, director of the Pediatric Unit and Transplant Center, added, "We've saturated our bed availability, we are really in trouble, we have to send patients away to other hospitals, all the intensive care units in the regions are full so actually this is really a big big problem."

"The situation is really dramatic, the mood is really depressing," he revealed. "Relatives can't stay with patients during their admission and some others die without anyone around. It's also forbidden to have funerals, so even the last prayer can't be done properly."

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Italy has moved to stop all domestic travel.

One last thing…
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