Thanks in large part to those who insisted on traveling for the holidays during a goddamn global pandemic, Los Angeles County health officials are expecting the next few weeks to potentially be the worst of this entire era.
In a memo sent out to ambulance workers last week, as excerpted in this CNN report, just how dire the situation is was made clear with a new set of instructions regarding patient transport procedures.
"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 non-traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) shall not be transported [if]return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) is not achieved in the field," the memo said.
Resuscitation efforts will continue for at least 20 minutes, at which point—if a patient is stabilized—they would be transported. If the patient is declared dead at the scene or a pulse is unable to be brought back, the body will not be transported to the hospital.
This mid-pandemic advisement for potential stroke and heart attack patients, however, doesn't mean—despite how it may be presented elsewhere—that such patients are simply being denied care. Instead, as Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services director Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill told KCAL, this is part of many serious steps the agency is taking with the hopes of helping as many people as possible.
"What we're asking is that—which is slightly different than before—is that we are emphasizing the fact that transporting these patients arrested leads to very poor outcomes," Gausche-Hill said. "We knew that already and we just don’t want to impact our hospitals."
In addition to new patient transportation advisement, Los Angeles County hospitals are taking a number of measures in response to being alarmingly overcrowded. ICU unit availability is bottoming out, with several hospitals confirmed to have declared "internal disasters" and using gyms and other locations as makeshift units. Oxygen supply is also hitting troubling levels.
"We're likely to experience the worst conditions in January that we've faced the entire pandemic, and that's hard to imagine," Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health, said Tuesday.
Whether you're in the Los Angeles County area or not, please stop fucking around when it comes to the pandemic.