The health authority for a South Texas border county has announced that an ethics committee will be formed to screen all patients for survival potential of Covid-19 and send home those with low probabilities, according to WSYR-TV.

  • Starr County Health Authority Dr. Jose Vazquez said Starr County Memorial Hospital has created an ethics and triage committee to review all cases coming into the hospital, which is the only one in the county. Those determined to be too fragile or sick will be sent home.
  • In a video conference call, Vasquez said:

“There is nowhere to put these patients. The whole state of Texas and neighboring states have no ICU beds to spare for us. We are going to have these committees reviewing each case. End-of-life decisions and hospice decisions and comfort-care situation for all those patients who most certainly do not have any hope of improving we believe they will be better taken care in the love of their own family and home rather than thousands of miles away dying alone.”

  • Vasquez shared that he has never once in his career had to make such a drastic decision, adding:

“We are not gods or anybody to make a decision for who should live or who should die. However, when you have a mass-casualty situation there are guidelines that makes you work in a more efficient manner and to help save the maximum number of people.”

  • The Starr County Hospital has an eight-bed Covid-19 unit, but is currently treating 28 patients, three of whom are on ventilators and life support.

“The number of cases we see in the ER are growing every day; 50% of cases in the ER are COVID. The situation is desperate. We cannot continue functioning at Starr County Memorial Hospital the way things are going. The numbers are staggering,” Vazquez said.

Read the full report.