Paramedics in Southern California are receiving instructions to avoid bringing patients who have a small chance to survive to the hospital. Instructions have also indicated that paramedics should conserve the use of oxygen. This comes as Los Angeles County continues to deal with a surge in COVID-19 patients. This is expected to get worse in the next few days.
The county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency released instructions on Monday regarding conserving oxygen. The instructions say that ambulance crews should only administer oxygen to patients with oxygen levels below 90%.
In another memo, the Agency told paramedics to avoid transferring patients who suffer cardiac arrest to hospitals. They can only do so if the crew can restore spontaneous circulation while on the scene.
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The agency’s medical director Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill released the directives on Monday. It serves as the agency’s attempt to prepare for an expected surge of COVID-19 cases following the winter holidays.
Directives for Paramedics Released
According to the LA County director of health services, Dr. Christina Ghaly, many hospitals in the area “have reached a point of crisis and are having to make very tough decisions about patient care.”
“The volume being seen in our hospitals still represents the cases that resulted from the Thanksgiving holiday,” Ghaly added.
“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.” she went on to say.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the CBS affiliate in L.A., Gausche-Hill said medical personnel will still do everything possible to save the lives of those in need. This goes for both on the scene and in hospitals.
She said, “We are not abandoning resuscitation. 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,” Gausche-Hill said.
Efforts to Solve Issues
Meanwhile, as per Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state of California is looking for means to get more supply of oxygen for COVID-19 treatment.
“We’re just looking at the panoply of oxygen support … across the spectrum and looking how we can utilize more flexibility and broader distribution of these oxygen units all up and down the state, but particularly in these areas — San Joaquin Valley and Los Angeles, the larger Southern California region — that are in particular need and are under particular stress,” Newsom said, as per Los Angeles Times.
Los Angeles Country still is the worst-hit area in the U.S. during the pandemic. According to Johns Hopkins University, the area has more than 818,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 10,700 deaths by late Monday.
Additionally, the new strain of the coronavirus was found in Southern California. This strain reportedly spreads faster than the common strain.