One woman in Belgium has heroically died after refusing to go on a ventilator, stating that there are people younger than her who need the devices. Suzanne Hoylaerts from Binkom was hospitalized with respiratory issues after contracting COVID-19.
As covered among major news outlets, there is a great shortage of ventilators available globally, and there is fear, especially in Italy, that a time will come where doctors have to choose who gets a spot on a ventilator and who does not.
When Hoylaerts was hospitalized, she tested positive.
She told doctors, “I don’t want to use artificial respiration. Save it for younger patients.
I already had a good life”.
Her daughter Judith was unable to visit her, as she was immediately put into isolation in the days before her passing. Her daughter was also distraught over the fact that her mother had stayed at home as recommended and has basically been in a full lockdown for the last several weeks. Her passing comes at a great shock to her family.
Ventilators are essential in fighting COVID-19. As the U.S. races to secure as many as possible, there have been questions raised in terms of distribution measures and what will happen if we still don’t have the capacity.
Major corporations such as Dyson are also racing to turn prototypes into actual ventilators that can be sent to hospitals as quickly as possible.
Ventilators also come with a huge risk, as if a design is mass produced it can yield catastrophic results. If a patient is put on a faulty ventilator, they are unlikely to survive, so the stakes are high.