By Yolanda Bustillo and Rachel Perler
Amid the present surge of the coronavirus pandemic, it is crucial that disability rights are a factor in the development of triage protocols.
During the last week of December, the CDC recorded a record of 225,269 new coronavirus cases and 118,948 total hospitalizations. Health care systems across the country have predicted that they soon may face shortages of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other limited resources.
In Utah, for example, hospital administrators have implemented informal triage protocols that prioritize patients based on health status, clinical factors, and the time sensitivity of their needed procedures. Hospitals in California have similarly begun rationing care.
If these dire circumstances worsen, hospital systems may apply triage protocols that deviate from best practices and impermissibly discriminate against people with disabilities.