Prioritising ‘already-scarce’ intensive care unit resources in the midst of COVID-19: a call for regional triage committees in South Africa
Reshania Naidoo (cohort 2019-2020) , Kantharuben Naidoo
The worsening COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa poses multiple challenges for clinical decision making in the context of already-scarce ICU resources. Data from national government and the last published national audit of ICU resources indicate gross shortages. While the Critical Care Society of Southern Africa (CCSSA) guidelines provide a comprehensive guideline for triage in the face of overwhelmed ICU resources, such decisions present massive ethical and moral dilemmas for triage teams. It is therefore important for the health system to provide clinicians and critical care facilities with as much support and resources as possible in the face of impending pandemic demand. Following a discussion of the ethical considerations and potential challenges in applying the CCSSA guidelines, the authors propose a framework for regional triage committees adapted to the South African context.