Triage: Bundestag adapts Infection Protection Act

DThe federal government wants to ensure that disabled or otherwise disadvantaged patients are not treated worse than other people when medical capacities are scarce. With their majority, the traffic light groups therefore changed parts of the Infection Protection Act accordingly on Thursday evening in the Bundestag. It was about the so-called triagedoctors weighing up who to care for and in what order when not everyone in need can be cared for.

With its “triage decision” from December 2021, that was the case Federal Constitutional Court Against the background of the corona pandemic, we have asked the legislature to clarify this issue. The judges ruled that the Basic Law gives the state the task of protecting people with disabilities from discrimination when intensive care capacities are scarce.

This protection order, from which the draft derives a protection obligation, is based on Article 3 of the constitution, which states, among other things: “No one may be disadvantaged because of their disability.”

Union criticized the uncertainty of doctors and patients

The amendment is intended to reduce the risk of discrimination if, due to a rapidly spreading communicable disease, there are not enough intensive care treatment capacities available that are essential for survival. The allocation decision must be based solely on the current and short-term probability of survival. However, it is not permissible to weigh up disability, degree of frailty, age, ethnic origin, religion, world view, gender or sexual orientation.

The law also regulates the procedures according to which the allocation is to be made. The Health Committee of the Bundestag had previously approved three amendments, for example to define when vital capacities in the clinics are insufficient.

They must also inform the state authorities about possible triage cases. An evaluation of the new regulation is also planned. The Union faction criticized that it remained unclear who had to make the decisions. Instead of creating legal clarity, the law unsettles doctors and patients even more.

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