Results of “Greater Good”
The eleventh day of March marks two full years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic. I am stunned by this reality. Still. And what’s more shocking, in my opinion, is that we, as a nation, don’t have a better handle on the situation.
Near the end of 2021, largely in response to rising COVID-19 cases, several states—including Alaska, Georgia, and Idaho—reactivated or implemented Crisis Standards of Care (CSC) protocols for hospitals. This occurs when the demand for care far outweighs the available resources. The goal? Help medical professionals prioritize care and ensure the greatest community good. Such protocols mostly are instituted on a short-term basis, like after a natural disaster. This virus has required such protocols to be in place long-term, and they continue throughout the country today.
Forbes calls them a “necessary evil” where life-saving resources are rationed and distributed based on the likelihood of survival versus individual need. The magazine cites several examples of detrimental outcomes: “A man in Alabama…died after being turned away by forty-three hospitals while in the midst of a cardiac emergency; a veteran in Houston…passed away because of a gallstone issue after waiting seven hours for an ICU bed; an Alaskan patient was taken off dialysis and left to die because there weren’t any nurses available to staff the dialysis machines.”
My youngest daughter, who earned her nursing degree recently and thrives under pressure, works as an emergency-room nurse at a hospital. Although triage care is a consistent reality in the emergency department, she sees how COVID-19 has precipitated the need to be hyper-focused on making decisions based on the greater good. She agrees it is necessary but extremely difficult. Fellow associates, like home-health care and clinical specialists are enlisted to establish a patient’s baseline and round out care. The burden continues to spread, overwhelming practitioners and facilities across the nation.
As we enter Lent, a season of repentance, fasting, and prayer, let’s embrace the reality of God’s universal care. Give thanks that God’s care, regardless of national adversity or turbulence remains constant and without compromise. Perhaps in our efforts to “give” in this season of grace, we can offer up our prayers of protection for all frontline workers. Not only in the physical sense, but spiritual as well. Pope Francis has established worldwide prayer intentions for each month. April is dedicated to health-care workers. The Catholic Healthcare Association (CHA) offers this prayer:
Heavenly Father, grant to physicians, nurses, and all health-care professionals wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience; keep them safe and preserve them from all contagion. Cheer, heal, and sanctify the sick, and send down your blessing on all who care for them. Amen.