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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Withholding ventilators from older COVID-19 patients harms young people too

To the editor: “In the COVID-19 crisis,” write Drs. Neil S. Wenger and Martin F. Schapiro, “ventilators and [intensive care] beds should be denied to or withdrawn from patients for whom the benefits are minimal at best and those resources given to patients who are more likely to survive.”

One problem with trying to implement such a sweeping prescription is that those who are more likely to survive with treatment are also more likely to survive without treatment. Another is that we are not told how to constitute the required death panels.

A third is that it encourages age discrimination, for older patients are harder to cure and have less life left to live even if cured. A more equal treatment of old and young benefits even the young by assuring them of available care in the future.

Thomas Schwartz, Studio City

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To the editor: I am an 89-year-old, very healthy woman. I was born in Los Angeles and now live in Encinitas, where I am still enjoying a full, happy life.

Six months ago, I moved into a senior living facility, not because I needed care, but because I needed company, as I have been a widow for five years and find it lonely without my husband.

If I came down with COVID-19, I would want a younger patient get a ventilator instead of me if supplies were scarce. I would hope that other people my age agree with me.

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Royce Weiss, Encinitas


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