LA refuses patients who have little chance to be saved
Los Angeles health officials have told first responders to stop bringing adult patients who cannot be resuscitated to hospitals, citing a shortage of beds and staff as the latest COVID-19 surge threatened to overwhelm health care systems in the second-largest US city.
The order issued late on Monday and became effective immediately, marking an escalation of measures being taken by state and local officials in the United States in the face of alarming rise in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Ambulances have been forced to wait several hours to unload patients at some Los Angeles hospitals, causing delays throughout the county’s emergency response system.
“Patients in traumatic full arrest who meet current Ref 814 criteria for determination of death shall not be resuscitated and shall be determined dead on scene and not transported,” said Marianne Gausche-Hill, medical director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency.
Ref 814 refers to the county’s policy on determining and pronouncing death in a patient who has not been transported to a hospital.
Los Angeles County has topped 11,000 COVID-19 deaths and has had 40 percent of the deaths in California.
An average of six people die every hour from COVID-19 in the county, which has a quarter of the state’s 40 million residents.