LA emergency crews told not to transport patients with little chance of survival

“Many hospitals have reached a point of crisis and are having to make very tough decisions about patient care,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly

Los Angeles County hospitals have tough decisions to make.

The incoming numbers of COVID-19 patients are so high some hospitals are being forced to make the tough call of not allowing ambulances to bring in those who have little chance of surviving. They have also instructed first responders to cut back the use of oxygen and reserve it for those who have a better chance to live, per the Los Angeles Times.

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“The volume being seen in our hospitals still represents the cases that resulted from the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, the L.A. County director of health services during a briefing Monday.

“We do not believe that we are yet seeing the cases that stemmed from the Christmas holiday. This, sadly, and the cases from the recent New Year’s holiday, is still before us, and hospitals across the region are doing everything they can to prepare.”

Patients whose hearts have stopped and cannot be resuscitated will be considered dead on the scene unless EMT’s are able to revive them. If not, they will not be admitted to the hospital.

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“Effective immediately, due to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on EMS and 9-1-1 Receiving Hospitals, adult patients (18 years of age or older) in blunt traumatic and nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) shall not be transported [if] return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is not achieved in the field,” a memo issued to ambulance personnel by The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency read according to CNN.

The call was made as health officials desperately try to increase triage space for incoming patients, though they expect the situation to worsen despite the new protocols.

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“We’re likely to experience the worst conditions in January that we’ve faced the entire pandemic, and that’s hard to imagine,” said Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County Public Health director.

As of Sunday, 1,627 were in intensive care but 7,898 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized throughout the county.

Dr. Ghaly says the decision to deny patients with no chance of survival was not an easy one.

“Many hospitals have reached a point of crisis and are having to make very tough decisions about patient care.”

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