Germany’s Supreme Court has asked for greater protection for people with disabilities in Covid-related cases of “triage” – where doctors only help patients who have a chance to survive and leave others to their future – in a dramatic victory for those with a disability campaign.
The Constitutional Court has instructed the German parliament to enact legislation that would ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against in the case of “the distribution of medical care that has been lost due to the epidemic”.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has welcomed the ruling. “People with disabilities need more government protection than anyone else, especially when they are tested,” he tweeted. The need now was to vaccinate enough people to ensure that triage did not happen, he added.
Tuesday’s decision goes to the heart of one of the biggest challenges facing Covid-19 crisis – whether medical professionals are working. intensive care units he must give priority to those who want to save.
Doctors and nurses often face frustrating decisions, especially in the early stages of a crisis, as to how they can cope. distribution of needs such as ventilators. There were cases where hospitals did not have enough beds for most Covid-19 patients housed in intensive care units. This sometimes leads to triage – the calculation of injuries and physical conditions depending on those who have a chance of survival.
In March, the British Institute of Human Rights reported the so-called “do not try to refresh” the systems for the disabled and the elderly was offered at a higher rate in the early months of the epidemic, as doctors fear that it could force the NHS.
A German court has ruled that people with a disability are at greater risk during a pandemic, including the risk of coronavirus infection and death from Covid-19. It said parliament had failed to ensure that these groups were not discriminated against in the provision of critical care services.
This, the judges said, was in violation of Article 3 of the German Constitution, which states that “no one shall be discriminated against on the ground”.
The protesters were a group of nine disabled and former patients who feared that doctors might refuse treatment, focusing only on healthy patients with a chance of survival.
He objected to the existing guidelines for doctors in “medical ethics” developed by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi), one of the largest medical organizations in the country.
These rules state that a patient’s weakness and pre-existing conditions should help determine whether they are receiving treatment. Opponents complained that it meant people with disabilities always lose, due to their poor chance of survival.
However, after the group filed their complaint in a court of law, Divi insisted that no one should refuse treatment due to old age, illness or disability. It also said that the methods can be effective if the patient does not survive the illness.
The trial court ended up agreeing with the plaintiffs, stating that Divi’s views concealed a “risk” that could lead to complications or weaknesses that could be seen as “serious signs” of a patient’s chances of recovery.
In its ruling, the court stated that among the epidemic doctors “they find that they are at risk of having to make a decision – they have to decide who will receive the necessary medical care and who will not”.
“In that case it would be very difficult to count people with disabilities and not discriminate against them,” he added. For that reason, government officials should make sure that any decision regarding the treatment of a patient “is not based on [their] modern opportunity, on the verge of survival ”.