The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency instructed ambulance crews not to transport patients that cannot be revived in the field.
Patients “whose hearts have stopped despite efforts of resuscitation should no longer be transported to hospitals,” a summary of the county’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) January 4th guidelines read.
“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,” Los Angeles County EMS instructed.
If a patient lacks signs of breathing or a pulse, EMS will continue to perform resuscitation for 20 minutes. If a patient is stabilized after the resuscitation attempts, they would ultimately be taken to a hospital; however, if the patient is declared “dead at the scene or no pulse can be restored,” paramedics would not transport the body to the hospital.
In short, Los Angeles ambulance crews shouldn’t transport patients with “little chance of survival.”
The county has also been forced to ration its oxygen as outlined in the EMS memo:
“Given the acute need to conserve oxygen, effective immediately, EMS should only administer supplemental oxygen to patients with oxygen saturation below 90%.”