By: Merrill Matthews – ipi.org – May 19, 2020
Two key statements stand out in a recent Wall Street Journal news story about New York’s decision to send patients with Covid-19 to their nursing homes.
One is a quote from Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim, who represents Queens: “The state has failed to protect the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. The fact we maintained and pushed Covid-positive patients into facilities that were not equipped to handle them, it was a fatal error.”
Yes, it was, Assemblyman. And the question is why would the state do such a thing?
Which takes us to the second statement, in this case by the WSJ reporter: “The directive was meant to protect those infected with coronavirus from discrimination, a state official said.”
To protect infected people from discrimination?
Federal law prohibits nursing homes from discriminating based on race, color, religion, age, sex, or any other protected characteristic. So apparently the New York official didn’t mean that type of discrimination.
There has also been a running debate over health care rationing and who should be denied care if there wasn’t enough medical equipment to treat everyone.
For example, Franklin G. Miller, a professor of medical ethics in medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and a fellow at the Hastings Center, published a piece at Hastings entitled, “Why I Support Age-Related Rationing of Ventilators for COVID-19 Patients.”
Miller drew the line at the age of 80—and 70 if equipment was really tight.
Medical rationing can lead to a type of discrimination, but I don’t think that was the concern in this case. New York hospitals needed more room for their sickest patients. The patients being transferred to the nursing homes were stable and generally recovering.
Apparently, the decision was an effort to create a new protected class—a patient with Covid-19—and prohibit even testing to see if the patient was still contagious.
Here is how New York’s Department of Health put it in guidance to the nursing homes.
“No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH [nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
Sometimes what you don’t know WILL hurt you.
New York has had more than 5,600 nursing home deaths—well above any other state. As Governor Andrew Cuomo has been forced to admit, it was a deadly decision—and he is doing everything he can to deflect the blame.
The Covid-19 anti-discrimination policy wasn’t a decision based on medicine. Nursing homes and many health professionals put up stiff opposition to the mandate.
It wasn’t a policy decision based on the “science,” as the left and the media so often claim to embrace.
Which leaves social justice as the basis for the decision—and a very deadly one.
To see this article and others from IPI, click read more.