As we all know, the impact upon us of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Hospitals like ours are working hard to meet the dramatic rise in needed care with an increased strain on hospital resources. The hospital has decided to proactively share our approach to crisis care as we will likely face additional challenges moving forward after the holiday season. While we have not yet enacted this policy, we felt it was imperative to share in advance for ethical transparency.
The Board of Directors of Huntington Hospital has established a clinical committee, the Huntington Hospital Triage Allocation Team (TAT), and approved the adoption of new protocols that will guide clinical decision making in the event of a further surge of COVID-19 patients. The committee includes various doctors, a community member, a bioethics designee and a spiritual care provider, among other experts.
The critical decision to form this committee and adopt these protocols was made to ensure our hospital can act quickly to allocate resources in the most effective way to best treat the most patients possible following widely recognized and long-established triage standards adopted by hospitals across the country and world. Importantly, the committee will be given no information about patient age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, insurance or any other information unrelated to the person’s health situation. No one person will make a care giving decision.
Our goal must be to save as many lives as possible, and, of course, in an ethically proper way. We pledge to keep you all informed as we continue to confront the challenges of COVID-19.