In a letter to the editor by Cathy Bodin, published on Dec. 19 (A "modest proposal" to settle the mask issue), she raises the current and continued growing problem, of our limited medical resources. As the pandemic stretches our medical resources, who determines how the resources are delivered, and maybe more importantly, who gets care?
In some areas, people in ambulances are waiting up to 10 hours, in front of hospitals, to be seen by emergency room personnel. In one hospital, the emergency room was turned into a ward for patients, and a tent was erected outside, for use as the emergency room. Another hospital converted a parking garage into a hospital ward. A common theme that is often repeated, more facilities can be built if needed, but there are not enough staff. These are only a few of the hundreds of stories about the limits of our medical systems as the pandemic surge continues.
Cathy's modest proposal was to institute a system to determine who is wearing a mask and who was not. Those wearing a mask would receive medical resources first. Her proposal is analogous to the old lifeboat question, if the boat can only support 10 people and there are 12 in the water, who determines who gets in? The reality is that our lifeboats — the hospitals — are already full. Maybe the real problem is we already have too many patients, many of whom ignored the pandemic recommendations for safety. We already have people dying from non-pandemic health issues, like heart attacks, because many of our systems have exceeded capacity.
I agree with Cathy Bodin that those ignoring safety issues should be at the end of the line. I also believe that if we do not correct the problematic issues with our current health care systems, the next pandemic could be worse.