Four newborn babies have reportedly died after their government decided that trying to save lives was more important than…well, actually saving lives.
According to 9News Australia, four babies in Adelaide died after the government’s COVID-19 lockdowns prevented them from being airlifted to another hospital in Melbourne for live-saving heart surgery that wasn’t available where they were born. Adelaide is the only capital city in mainland Australia that doesn’t have its own infant cardiac unit, 9News reported. Unable to get the care they needed at the local hospital, the babies were then barred from being airlifted out of state to a cardiac center in another city because of travel restrictions purportedly put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Some officials are now pushing for an external oxygenation machines, or ECMOs, to be provided for the Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which may help in certain situations.
Four Newborns in Adelaide have died after being denied lifesaving heart surgery because it wasn't available in Adelaide, and they couldn't be transferred interstate because of travel restrictions. #9News pic.twitter.com/IFZsv9kq4k— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) October 20, 2020
While deaths from COVID-19 have been highly publicized, deaths from other non-COVID health conditions that could have been avoided have gone less noticed. Deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes have risen while emergency room visits for those same issues have dropped, indicating that fewer people may be seeking care or have been turned away for non-emergent medical reasons due to the pandemic.
"One factor that could be contributing to the increase is that people are afraid to come in for care," said Dr. Steven Woolf, professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, explained, per the American Heart Association. "We need to assure them that the danger of not getting care is greater than the danger of getting exposed to the virus."
Others have died after their "non-emergent" surgeries and procedures were postponed due to the coronavirus panic.