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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Los Angeles ambulances won’t take cardiac patients unlikely to survive as Covid crisis worsens

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Apu GOMES / AFP

As the state of California finds itself in the midst of a full-blown Covid-19 crisis, medical workers in Los Angeles are being faced with some stark choices. According to County Supervisor Hilda Sollis, a memo issued by the county’s Emergency Medical Services instructs ambulance workers not to pick up patients who’ve suffered a heart attack if their chances of surviving the journey to hospital are slim. The order comes as LA healthcare workers themselves fighting to cope with unprecedented numbers of hospital admissions. According to a CNN report, Sollis has described the unfolding crisis as a “human disaster”.

“Hospitals are declaring internal disasters and having to open church gyms to serve as hospital units. Our health care workers are physically and mentally exhausted and sick.”

CNN reports that LA county now has nearly 7,900 hospitalised Covid patients, with 21% in intensive care. Yesterday, another 224 patients died, meaning the county’s death toll now stands at over 11,000.

Dr. Jeffrey Smith from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre says heart attack patients deemed unlikely to survive the journey to hospital may not be picked up by paramedics.

“This order that was issued by the county emergency medical services really is very specific to patients who suffered from a cardiac arrest and are unable to be revived in the field. Those patients have a very low rate of survival each if they are transported to the hospital. So, at this time, it is deemed to likely be futile.”

It’s not just beds that are in short supply, the crisis has also placed unprecedented demand on supplies and equipment, meaning patients picked up by EMS and in need of extra oxygen may not get it.

And as Thailand holds its breath to see the effect of inter-provincial travel over the New Year holiday, officials in the US are in little doubt that year-end festivities have contributed to the huge number of cases. However, it’s the significant spike in hospitalisations that is giving cause for concern, due to the pressure it is placing on healthcare workers and hospital resources.

Barbara Ferrer, Public Health Director for Los Angeles County, expects numbers to continue rising as a result of the recent holiday gatherings.

“The increases in cases are likely to continue for weeks to come as a result of holiday and New Year’s Eve parties and returning travelers. We’re likely to experience the worst conditions in January that we’ve faced the entire pandemic. And that’s hard to imagine.”

Meanwhile, Smith says medical personnel are doing their best to get ambulances to facilities with space to accept patients, but despite this, many will find themselves having to wait.

“The Emergency Medical Services are working very hard to divert ambulances or send them to hospitals that do have potential capacity to receive those patients. There are situations where patients are made to wait in ambulances under the care of the paramedics. We want to make sure that time is as short as possible so they can receive the necessary care.”

Dr. Marc Eckstein from the Los Angeles Fire Department EMS bureau is appealing to the public to only call 911 if absolutely essential.

“One of our biggest challenges right now is getting our ambulances out of the emergency department. When our paramedics and EMTs transport a patient to an emergency department, there’s a transfer of care that has to take place. Patients who are unstable or unable to be safely transferred to the waiting room or to a chair need a bed in the emergency department to be transferred to. And those beds are lacking right now.”

SOURCE: CNN

 

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Buttaxe

    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:15 am

    The US is the ultimate failed state, and California is the ultimate failed state within a state. Consider the 2 trillion market wealth of Apple alone, the incredibly high taxation in California and yet they haven’t got the money to build new hospitals, ICUs and all the other infrastructure required in this exceptional time that can only be compared to wartime. BUT they have got resources to promote ‘diversity and inclusion’ whatever the fk that is. By contrast the much maligned (in the West) China, redirected all national resources towards fighting Covid – as just one example they built two entire hospitals in less than a month, all vaccines will be free to Chinese AND FOREIGNERS in China. Meanwhile the for-profit US vaccine continues to kill – the latest a nurse in Portugal.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:58 am

      Your comments on the US are fully justified, but those on China are just bizarre and highly misleading, at best.

      First, what’s the point in building “two entire hospitals in less than a month” unless you have the trained staff to man them?

      All you’re doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul, taking staff from one hospital to work in another as the UK discovered with the Nigtingale Hospitals which ere an epensive but complete waste of effort and resources (as should have been clear when the idea was first proposed and a child could have told them).

      … and all vaccines will NOT be free in China – only the ones produced by China, which have yet to be approved, with no data published by the manufacturers let alone verified.

      … as for the “for-profit US vaccine continues to kill – the latest a nurse in Portugal”, this is simply CR@P. Look into the report a little more closely and you’ll see that there’s NO evidence at all as yet that she died from the vaccine, which there could hardly be as the autopsy was only scheduled for yesterday, and she could just as easily died from a myriad of other causes.

      This really is absurd, conspiracy theory cr@p, with a bizarre mix of Chinese propoganda thrown in.

      • Avatar

        gosport

        Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 11:05 am

        Ever been to China? you sober? What is the criteria for trained staff?

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 2:43 pm

          Yes, yes, and that they’re trained.

      • Avatar

        Buttaxe

        Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 8:49 pm

        The hospitals were built in Wuhan, staff – that is doctors and nurses to make it really clear for you, were flown in from all over China. As usual commenting on things you know nothing about just for the sake of commenting.

        Vaccines ARE FREE IN CHINA! You are utterly clueless about China and a whole host of other issues, seriously why do you like making a fool of yourself on a daily basis.

        Thaiger: PLEASE add a blocking tool in the comments section.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 2:03 pm

          Precisely. “… Flown in from all over China”, leaving the other hospitals undermanned.

          I don’t know what part of that’s hard to understand.

          …and ‘no’ “vaccines ARE [NOT] FREE IN CHINA” – only those produced in China.

          Again, I don’t know what part of that’s hard to understand.

          You think China’s a beacon of light whose example the rest of the world should follow? Enjoy yourself …

  2. Avatar

    Roger C

    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:28 am

    @Maya Taylor,

    Maya did you ask Dr. Jeffrey Smith from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, if Cedars was full?

  3. Avatar

    gosport

    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 10:41 am

    That is terrible. It is not a failed state, it is a failed administration.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at 11:02 am

    The same thing will be happening elsewhere, with tests and treatment delayed, postponed or missed due to the number of Covid cases – even if you increase the beds, there is only so much equipment to go around and, above all, there are only so many trained medical staff.

    it’s already happening in hospitals across Europe and the UK, as has been widely reported and anyone with friends or relatives in the queue for treatment and tests can testify.

    This was inevitable unless the pandemic was controlled, and too much of the West didn’t want the consequences of that.

  5. Avatar

    Jeff

    Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 12:12 am

    California is a preview of what the Dems/liberals are going to do to the whole country over the next 4 years. Everywhere that they “govern” is in financial woes and is a filthy slum full of poverty, lawlessness and criminality.

  6. Avatar

    M brilliant insightful

    Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    It is not to be taken lightly but basically in a time of severe crisis triage is required. Triage would require not wasting resources by transporting dead people to hospital just to avoid a possible lawsuit. The whole situation is very sad.

  7. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, January 8, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Ambulances operate like taxis in the States, if the patient is unlikely to survive, they might not take the patient, because they might not be paid.
    It is the free enterprise system. Cruel, yes I agree,

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