Malaysia Doctors May Have to Decide Who Lives Amid Record Cases

Malaysia’s worsening outbreak may force doctors to allot intensive care beds to patients with higher chances of recovery amid a record surge in new cases, Health Director-General Noor Hisham Abdullah said.

“The number of ICU beds at Covid hospitals, quarantine and treatment centers is declining and may be inadequate,” he said in a statement. The health ministry “has warned of possible situations where doctors will have to make difficult choices to prioritize ICU beds for patients with higher recovery potential than those with lower recovery potential (poor prognosis).”

The grim outlook comes ahead of a two-week nationwide lockdown aimed at controlling an outbreak that has caused a record 1,144 deaths from Covid in May. New cases topped 9,000 on Saturday, a fifth day of record highs that has stretched the nation’s health services to a breaking point. Infections on Sunday fell to 6,999.

Covid patients admitted to the ICU, including those confirmed, under investigation and awaiting results, have reached nearly 1,200 cases, the highest number since the pandemic began, Noor Hisham said on Facebook earlier on Sunday.

“Although a number of ICU beds for Covid patients has been added, the rate of use is still more than 100%. This has led to some patients having to be treated in normal wards,” he wrote.

Noor Hisham on Tuesday warned that the surge in coronavirus cases has been building since the start of April, and that the nation should prepare for the worst.

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