Henry Ford Health coronavirus treatment prioritized for patients likeliest to survive


A letter printed on Henry Ford Health System letterhead saying that coronavirus treatment will be prioritized for patients most likely to survive has gone viral.

The hospital's Twitter account confirmed the authenticity of the letter on Thursday night.

"With a pandemic, we must be prepared for worst case," the tweet said. "With collective wisdom from our industry, we crafted a policy to provide guidance for making difficult patient care decisions. We hope never to have to apply them. We will always utilize every resource to care for our patients."

According to the letter, which you can read in full at The Detroit Free Press, priority is being given due to equipment and capacity shortages.

"Some patients will be extremely sick and very unlikely to survive their illness even with critical treatment," the letter read. "Treating these patients would take away resources for patients who might survive."

Those potentially ineligible for treatment include patients with terminal cancers or those with severe heart, lung, kidney, or liver failure, or other traumas.

"Patients who are not eligible for ICU or ventilator care will receive treatment for pain control and comfort measures," the letter adds.

The hospital elaborated in a longer response to the Free Press:

"With a pandemic of this nature, health systems must be prepared for a worst case scenario. Gathering the collective wisdom from across our industry, we carefully crafted our policy to provide critical guidance to healthcare workers for making difficult patient care decisions during an unprecedented emergency. These guidelines are deeply patient focused, intended to be honoring to patients and families. We shared our policy with our colleagues across Michigan to help others develop similar, compassionate approaches. It is our hope we never have to apply them and we will always do everything we can to care for our patients, utilizing every resource we have to make that happen."

Also this week, a video of a Beaumont nurse breaking down after a 13-hour shift treating coronavirus patients went viral.

"Honestly guys, it felt like I was working in a war zone," she said. "...this is my normal for the next however many months it takes for this virus to die down. I'm already breaking, so for fuck's sake people, please take this seriously. This is so bad."

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.