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Arizona under ‘Crisis Standards of Care’; triage protocols in place

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Arizona is now under "Crisis Standards of Care'. Soon, healthcare workers may have to start following triage protocols.

This could mean health care workers will have to decide who meets the criteria to get treatment for a serious illness which is not limited to COVID-19.

"What will be happening is that doctors will two kinds of evaluations," Will Humble said. "No. 1 is a clinical evaluation to determine how acute is this patient's medical condition and how close they are to multiorgan system failure."

Former Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble said doctors will have to prioritize patients using a point system that follows a four-step process. A stark reality for some patients whose care is dependent on how they score.

"The closer you are to multi-organ system failure, the lower priority you'll be. That's counterintuitive I think," Humble said. "You might think that the ones in the worst shape are the ones that get the limited resource. But when you're in crisis standards of care, what it means is that the ones that are most likely to benefit from the treatment are most likely to get the treatment."

Other criteria for care include how likely a patient is to recover and how long the patient is expected to live after treatment.

Humble predicts hospitals will implement triaging protocols later this month.

"This is something that is really serious and we're entering an unprecedented time within our hospital system," Humble said. "There will be some really difficult decisions to be made to determine whether someone lives or dies coming up in the month of July."

For a more in depth look at Arizona's 'Crisis Standards of Care', click here.