Spain coronavirus shock: Death surge forces doctors to deny vulnerable elderly ICU care

Medical Director at Spain’s Clinical Hospital San Carlos, Professor Julio Mayol explained the country was having to prioritise different patients in the battle against coronavirus. Professor Mayol told Sky News’ Mark Austin that due to a mass surge in coronavirus cases and limited equipment, decisions were being made to not admit the elderly and frail into intensive care unit (ICU) beds. Spain has seen a massive spike in coronavirus cases over the past weeks and this has resulted in an unprecedented death toll in a short period of time.

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The Sky News host asked: “Are they having to make decisions about rationing healthcare?

“Are they having to pick who gets the beds and ventilators, how are they trying to get through it?”

Professor Mayol replied: “Of course, some critical decisions are being made.

“Fortunately, we have gone up from 500 to almost 1,500 intensive care unit beds in Madrid.

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“People are being transferred from one hospital to another just to get adequate care.

“Of course, we have to make decisions.

“Those that are frail, we have many communities that are not good candidates to make it through the ICU stay.

“We have to decide not to put them on ventilators, this is tough because we get a lot of pressure.

“But people understand that these are critical moments and we have to make clinical decisions like this.

“We have ethic committees providing us council to ensure we make the right decision with people.”

Despite this admission, Professor Mayol claimed things were slowly getting better in Spain.

He said: “Things are dramatic but it is getting better very slowly.

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“We are seeing the number of patients referred to the emergency room declining in the last couple of days.

“Fortunately, there have been more patients weaned off ventilators so we are more optimistic.

“However, this is a very difficult time for all of us.”

Spain on Wednesday reported seeing its largest death toll increase by 864 in a single day.

At the time of writing Spain has 102,136 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Of this figure, 9,053 people have died from the disease while 22,647 people have recovered.

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