Lawsuit Challenges the New York State Department of Health’s Ventilator Allocation Guidelines
No one should have to worry about their life-sustaining medical equipment being taken from them in a pandemic.
Disability Rights New York (DRNY) & NCLEJ filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Not Dead Yet, NMD United, DRNY, and individual chronic ventilator users who reside in New York State.
The first of its kind lawsuit challenges the New York State Department of Health’s Ventilator Allocation
Guidelines. These Guidelines allow hospitals to reallocate the personal ventilators of chronic ventilator
users who seek acute medical care in a hospital during a time of triage to others deemed more likely to
survive based on a mechanical scoring system. New York State has the ability to change this reallocation
policy, as several other states have recently, yet they refuse.
“These guidelines place daily ventilator users in the impossible position of risking reallocation of their life-sustaining equipment in order to obtain acute care during the course of a pandemic. We first brought these
concerns to the attention of the State during the darkest days of the pandemic. Our requests to address the
discriminatory application of these guidelines have been completely ignored. This pandemic emergency is
not over and the State must address the issue now.”- Timothy A. Clune, DRNY Exec. Director.
“No one should have to worry about their life-sustaining medical equipment being taken from them in a
global pandemic, so we are asking the State to give our clients that assurance and the peace of mind they
deserve,” said Britney Wilson, staff attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.
“Those of us who know about this re-allocation policy are afraid to go to the hospital when the system is
strained because, for those who are deemed less worthy of their ventilator, there could be a deadly
surprise,” said Diane Coleman, president and CEO of an organizational plaintiff and disability rights group
Not Dead Yet.
“This insulting scoring system deems some disabled peoples’ lives unworthy of treatment during a public
health emergency – and reminds us of the systemic prejudice disabled New Yorkers face.”- Emily Wolinsky,
Board President and Executive Director of NMD United, plaintiff organization that serves people with
Read our press release on our case with @disabilityrightsnewyork to protect personal ventilator users: