Los Angeles paramedics told not to transport patients with little chance of survival

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As Los Angeles County faces a COVID-19 surge, paramedics in Southern California were given guidance Jan. 4 not to bring patients with little chance of survival to hospitals, according to NPR.

The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency issued a directive Jan. 4 telling paramedics not to transfer adult patients who experience cardiac arrest unless spontaneous circulation can be restored on the scene. The EMS agency said the directive is effective immediately due to the "severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EMS and 9-1-1 receiving hospitals."  

The agency issued a separate memo Jan. 4 instructing ambulance crews to only administer bottled oxygen to patients whose oxygen saturation levels fall below 90 percent, according to the report. 

Christina Ghaly, MD, the LA County director of health services, said many hospitals in Southern California "have reached a point of crisis" and are making difficult decisions about patient care.

"We are not abandoning resuscitation," she said Jan. 4, according  to NPR. "We are absolutely doing best practice resuscitation and that is do it in the field, do it right away."

"[We] are emphasizing the fact that transporting these patients arrested leads to very poor outcomes. We knew that already and we just don't want to impact our hospitals," she added.

Read the full NPR article here

More articles on patient flow:
Los Angeles hospitals brace for care rationing
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Steward closes maternity ward at Ohio hospital

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