You’re Killing Your Mother

There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in my area, but I’ve been under quarantine since Sunday evening anyway. In just a few short days, hospitals will be totally overwhelmed, and I’m determined not to be among the ER visits contributing to the death toll. People who would have been fine with a little medical attention aren’t going to get that attention, and it’s going to kill them.

In Italy, doctors and nurses are tragically having to choose to abandon patients in favor of treating the ones with a higher likelihood of survival. Picture this: a 16-year-old with cancer and a 50-year-old man with asthma both have a 50% chance of surviving COVID with no medical treatment. Which one do you treat?

Answer: the 50-year-old man. See, with medical treatment, his chance of survival increases to 95%, while the 16-year-old’s chances only climb to 75%. Because he’s more likely to survive, the man’s treatment is prioritized. He lives. The 16-year-old dies. There’s no way of knowing if the kid would have made it if more resources had been available.

As a relatively healthy person, my treatment will likely be prioritized in the event I end up in an overcrowded hospital. Someone less fortunate will suffer instead of me. Maybe a kid. Maybe your kid. Are you sure no one in your life has an undiagnosed heart condition? Immune disorder? Diabetes? How about chronic shitty luck?

Don’t be a dick. Don’t kill sick people.


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