Life goes on in this fourth wave of covid. Hopefully soon, we will see the numbers begin to fall again. Though, so far, there has been no sign of that. The intensivists in our health system have been briefed on Critical Care Triaging. They haven’t had to implement it yet (and we hope it never will be), but even the idea of it sounds horrible. A system to decide who gets ICU care, and who doesn’t. Who gets a ventilator, and who misses out. It sounds like a horror story, a lottery where the lucky survive and others are left to die.
When I check patients in for surgery, I have to ask them whether they have received their covid vaccine. The ones who haven’t get this guilty look on their face and say, “no, but I’m getting it soon, I promise.” And I feel a strange mix of things looking at these patients. I feel sorry for them, because it’s clear they think I’ll care for them differently or preach to them the importance of getting the vaccine, even though it’s fully their choice and they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for exercising their right to refuse medication.
But equally, I wish they had their vaccine. I wish they hadn’t left it so late. I do want to scream from the rooftops just how crucial these vaccines are, not just for them but for everyone they know and love. Because, ultimately, I don’t want them or their loved ones to be the last straw, that final patient that ends up in ICU and sends us down the terrifying route of activating the Critical Care Triage Protocol.