German Court Demands Fair Treatment of Disabled People in Triage
German politicians must ensure that the rights of vulnerable people are protected if hospitals have to triage during the pandemic. The Constitutional Court decided this in Karlsruhe after nine people with medical problems had reported there.
The complainants have disabilities and underlying conditions. They fear being disadvantaged if hospitals prioritise patients with the best chances of survival in emergencies. In addition, the nine say they run an increased risk of a severe course of disease if they become infected with the coronavirus.
The court now rules that no one should be skipped for potentially life-saving treatment because of a disability. Instead, the judges urge politicians to act immediately to make binding rules for triage situations. Then the urgency of a request for help is determined.
The judges refer to the fact that handicapped persons should not be discriminated against according to the constitution. The government would now have insufficiently arranged to guarantee fair treatment for that group if hospitals had to make difficult decisions about which patients to treat first.
Due to the corona pandemic, the pressure on healthcare is also increasing in Germany. Medical organisations had already drawn up guidelines for possible triage, but these are not legally binding according to the court.