Henry Ford reaching capacity on ventilators, planning new life or death protocol for patients

Henry Ford Health is almost out of spare ventilators, causing the hospital system to flesh out a new "worst-case scenario" policy about which patients will get to use life-sustaining equipment against the coronavirus.

After photos of the hospital's new policy were posted on Twitter, the health department confirmed that due to the public health emergency and a lack of medical resources, hospital st

aff would need to be "careful with resources."

"Patients who have the best chance of getting better are our first priority. Patients will be evaluated for the best plan for care and dying patients will be provided comfort care," read the note.

After screenshots of the now-verified new policy from Henry Ford Health were shared on Twitter, the hospital's account responded saying "we must be prepared for worst case. Will collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care systems."

While the plan has not been implemented yet, a spokesperson told FOX 2 it is part of a "worst-case scenario" policy. 

“With a pandemic of this nature, health systems must be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Gathering the collective wisdom from across our industry, we carefully crafted our policy to provide critical guidance to healthcare workers for making difficult patient care decisions during an unprecedented emergency," said Dr. Adnan Munkarah, the Chief Clinical Officer at Henry Ford Health. "These guidelines are deeply patient-focused, intended to be honoring to patients and families. We were pleased to share our policy with our colleagues across Michigan to help others develop similar, compassionate approaches. It is our hope we never have to apply them and we will always do everything we can to care for our patients, utilizing every resource we have to make that happen.”

Both Henry Ford Health and Beaumont Hospitals said they were nearing capacity for much of their supplies as the number of COVID-19 patients in southeast Michigan has skyrocketed. Since reporting the first two cases 16 days ago, the state now has now confirmed more than 3,000 total cases, with 85% coming from Wayne and Oakland County.

Detroit has become the unofficial epicenter of Michigan's outbreak as the U.S. confirmed the most coronavirus cases in the world yesterday. 

The exponentially increasing number of cases has forced hospitals to ask the public for mask and gown donations as supplies dry up. 

RELATED: Emergency room nurse begs Michiganders to stay home in Instagram video

Nurses are also pleading with residents to stay inside after recapping how the last 10 days have been for her at work. 

Questions like who lives and who dies as open beds and extra ventilators dwindle are some of the decisions that doctors in Italy have had to make since the cases exploded out of the country. Partly due to a lack of testing and partly due to a lack of early testing, countries that find themselves in Italy's position will likely see the number of deaths jump as well.

RELATED: Michigan reports 2,856 total coronavirus cases, 60 deaths across the state

On Thursday the state reported 564 new coronavirus cases and 17 more deaths, bringing Michigan's already high case county to 2856 and the total deaths at 60.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Detroit Police Department said a 50-year-old police captain had died from complications after catching Coronavirus. 

"This is a reminder of why Gov. Whitmer's order was so important. It is not just elderly people who are dying of this disease," Mayor Mike Duggan said. "Something about it, young individuals are severely affected as well."

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. 

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

Are you showing symptoms? Try Beaumont's virtual screening tool

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.


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