Los Angeles County has announced it is limiting non-COVID emergency care, due to hospitals having reached a “point of crisis” during the pandemic, promoting ethicists to discuss whether the act is justified.
On Monday, the Emergency Medical Services Agency for Los Angeles County issued two directives limiting emergency care during the pandemic, because of a spike in COVID hospitalizations.
One directive stated that emergency medical personnel should not transport patients who suffered cardiac arrest to the hospital, if they could not be revived in the field. The directive was given “due to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EMS and 9-1-1 receiving hospitals.”
Another directive stated that supplemental oxygen should only be given to patients with less than 90% oxygen saturation due to “the acute need to conserve oxygen.”
The actions were taken as the number of COVID hospitalizations is expected to spike after the Christmas holiday season, according to the Los Angeles Times.
One medical ethicist told CNA that the county had to make a difficult decision in extraordinary circumstances.
“I think they have gone about a very difficult decision in a reasonable way,” said Dr. Barbara Golder, staff member with the Catholic Medical Association, in an interview with CNA.
With the virus spreading around the country, many local health systems are seriously burdened or at capacity, Golder said. “I’m inclined to believe that this is, in fact, a very extraordinary circumstance,” she said in reference to Los Angeles.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.