New Mexico suspends elective surgeries, opens door for care rationing

Erica Carbajal - Print  | 

With COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Mexico nearly tripling since early November, the state placed a temporary ban on nonessential surgeries and OK'd "crisis care" standards Dec. 10 — a measure that would allow for care rationing based on patients' chance of survival, reports The Washington Post.

The state's temporary ban on elective surgeries is effective through Jan. 4. The greenlight for "crisis care" standards gives hospitals the option to switch to a uniform plan to triage care, including a measure that would allow doctors to ration patient care. 

The extent to which New Mexico hospitals will utilize the measure is unclear, but some hospital leaders told the Post they appreciate the declaration as a way to give hospitals more flexibility amid a shortage of intensive care unit beds. 

Activating crisis-level standards was a last resort for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has taken one of the most restrictive COVID-19 approaches in the U.S. Under current conditions, however, there are few other options to alleviate pressure put on the state's healthcare system, experts previously told the Post. 

A total of 916 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Mexico as of Dec. 10, according to The Atlantic's COVID-19 Tracking Project. 

More articles on patient flow:
West Virginia governor asks hospitals to reevaluate elective surgeries
New York to order hospitals to boost bed capacity 25%
California hospital to reopen after shutdown spurred by wildfire


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