Make this simple change to free up hospital beds now

Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, writing in The Washington Post:

‘There is something we can do immediately that will dramatically help hospitals free up beds and medical equipment to help those suffering from covid-19.

This proposal will save lives the minute that states and other authorities adopt it.
We are in urgent need of emergency laws, or executive orders, in every state that temporarily relax the legal standard of medical malpractice…

This is not an end-run to bring about tort reform. It is an emergency step, necessary in a national emergency, to save lives. Here’s why:…

This is not triage. It is a protection that doctors need to avoid exposing uninfected patients to the virus and for ensuring we will have capacity to treat those with advanced cases of covid-19
If we don’t act now, we will exceed our hospital capacity far sooner than we can afford as a society.
The change need not, and should not, be permanent. A three-month suspension would be enough. But we need to make this change immediately.
Changing the legal standard will make it possible for doctors to immediately treat more of the most critically ill patients, while legally protecting them in sending less sick patients home. It will determine how many patients we can treat before the system ceases to function…

I know doctors, and I know hospital administrators and lawyers. Removing these concerns will change physician behavior immediately…’

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