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Coronavirus: Hospital stumped after woman asks not to be intubated

a patient lies intubated on the coronavirus disease (covid 19) ward at the hospital of the ministry of interior and administration in warsaw

Staff at a public hospital were at a loss after a woman being treated for coronavirus asked not to be intubated if her condition worsens, local media reported on Wednesday.

Despite initially refusing treatment, the woman in question reportedly checked herself into a state hospital after being urged to do so by relatives as she was seriously ill with coronavirus.

According to a hospital source who spoke to Phileftheros, the woman is reportedly unvaccinated and has asked doctors not to intubate her if deemed necessary, even presenting a signed legal document saying she does not give her consent to be intubated.

The incident sparked questions as to when, and whether, medical professionals have the right to intervene, and how they can perform their duty and save a human life while respecting the patient’s wishes.

Commenting on the incident, lawyer Christos Triantafyllides told the newspaper that as the patient is in a state hospital, only an order from the attorney-general would give doctors the power to proceed with specific actions if they deem them necessary for the patient’s wellbeing.

If this was happening in a private facility, then the order would come from the hospital’s lawyer.

At the same time, Triantafyllides said that as long as the patient is of sound mind, their demand should be accepted, unless the state or a close relative thinks an intervention is needed – in which case a legal order is necessary.

In a past case referenced by Triantafyllides, the attorney-general intervened with a legal order after parents refused a blood transfusion for their son for religious reasons.

The order asked for the blood transfusion to go ahead, saving the boy’s life.


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