Oregon Hospitals Didn’t Have Shortages. So Why Were Disabled People Denied Care?

(NPR) – At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a small group of disability rights advocates found itself in a race against time to save the life of a woman with an intellectual disability.

The woman was taken to the hospital with COVID-19. But the hospital, in a small Oregon town, denied the ventilator she needed. Instead, a doctor, citing her “low quality of life,” wanted her to sign a legal form to allow the hospital to deny her care.

Out of that quiet fight in early spring, the advocates — staff at a disability rights legal group, a state lawmaker and a few others — discovered something disturbing: There were many cases in Oregon of health care being rationed to people with disabilities. CONTINUE