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In Europe, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to unknown pressure on hospitals and their intensive care units. The general public was shocked last spring when intensive care capacities in several regions of Italy, France, and Spain were overwhelmed by the surge in critical coronavirus patients. Medical professionals had to decide who would be admitted to intensive care – and who would not. Some places have seen the numbers of patients hitting a critical level once again during the second wave of the pandemic.
The burden that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the health systems of so many countries has prompted a discussion of the standards and criteria to be applied in triage situations. Who should be prioritised if the number of critically ill COVID-19 patients exceeds the available intensive care capacity?
A number of guidelines and recommendations have been drawn up to help clinicians, hospital managers, patients, potential patients, and their families deal with triage situations. We have commissioned a survey among intensive care physicians to get an overview of the recommended procedures in different European countries.
The results are presented here.
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