#NoBodyIsDisposable Campaign — Open Letter to Care Providers and Hospitals
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Dear Medical Professionals,
We want to express both our gratitude and concern for you, as you respond to the devastating COVID-19 pandemic gripping our communities. It’s a terrifying time, and we know that especially without needed Personal Protective Equipment and other supplies, you are in an unconscionably high-risk situation. There are no comforting words for this level of risk. It’s awful.
Your lives are not disposable! And as people also facing grave risk, and their loved ones, we deeply empathize.
Day by day, states and medical facilities are releasing triage plans that recommend who gets denied care when beds and ventilators are running low. We write to you as other people whose lives are being considered disposable — people with disabilities, fat people, old people, people with HIV/AIDS or other illnesses — along with our friends and loved ones who don’t want us to die.
Please take care: following discriminatory triage policies is UNLAWFUL. Medical standards of care are correctly determined by the profession, but denying or withdrawing care based on protected characteristics violates many laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504, the Affordable Care Act, state and local civil rights laws, and/or the U.S. Constitution. This is not about “hard decisions” — it is about justice.
Medical professionals pledge oaths to do no harm, to care for the welfare of all your patients. Please JOIN US in resisting discriminatory policies that violate your oaths and responsibilities:
Demand immediate expansion of resources: Avoid triage by demanding the supplies we all need: ventilators and parts, more hospital beds, and personal protective equipment for all medical workers!
1) Demand federal & state decisions that flatten the curve: Governors and the President have the power to maintain or implement shelter-in-place orders, which will reduce transmission, save lives, and avoid triage.
2) Take part in decisions as your facilities formulate policies and algorithms for ventilator use. Fight back when unjust point systems are proposed or implemented.
3) Refuse discriminatory triage policies: Care for your patients without discrimination; don’t refuse ICU admittance based on disability, size, age, or AIDS status. Don’t take a patient off a ventilator to make room for a patient whose life is “more highly valued.”
Before COVID-19, marginalized communities have had reason to fear bias in medical settings. We are terrified of being killed by the people who are supposed to care for us. Let’s protect each other and fight for the resources and policies we need to get through this emergency together.
NoBody Is Disposable Coalition
We are people targeted by triage plans during the COVID-19 pandemic -- people with disabilities, fat people, old people, people with HIV/AIDS or other illnesses -- and our loved ones who don’t want us to die. We partner with social justice and civil rights organizations, as well as medical professionals to demand policies that avoid triage and avoid discrimination in triage [while protecting healthcare workers]
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