President Donald Trump fired back at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's criticism over a "slow" response to provide ventilators for a soon onslaught of coronavirus patients, saying the governor had the chance to buy them himself in 2015.
"He had 16,000 ventilators that he could have bought and he didn't buy them," Trump told host Bill Hemmer during a Fox News town hall. "He should've ordered the ventilators. They can't blame us for that. Gov. Cuomo is supposed to be buying his own ventilators."
The New York Post noted the president appeared to be referring to an opinion piece in the Post by fomer New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, who said Cuomo learned, along with other state officials in 2015, the state would need 18,000 ventilators in the case of a pandemic. But only 2,000 were on hand.
Instead of buying more, then-state health commissioner Howard Zucker set up a task force to ration the existing ventilators, she said, because not enough medical personnel were available to operate the additional ones if they were purchased.
A classification system was then set up for which patients would get a ventilator.
"Patients assigned a red code will have highest access, and other patients will be assigned green, yellow, or blue [the worst], depending on a 'triage officer's' decision," McCaughey wrote. "In truth, a death officer. Let's not sugarcoat it. It won't be up to your own doctor."
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