The state of New York recently issued a drastic new guideline urging all emergency services to essentially refrain from reviving anyone with very low probabilities of survival, as COVID-19 (coronavirus) patients have overwhelmed the state’s medical system.
What We Know:
- Paramedics were previously told to spend a maximum amount of 20 minutes trying to revive people found in cardiac arrest as city hospitals have been inundated with dying coronavirus patients to the point where there are frequently no ICU beds.
- The change is “necessary during the COVID-19 response to protect the health and safety of EMS providers by limiting their exposure, conserve resources, and ensure optimal use of equipment to save the greatest number of lives,’’ according to a state Health Department memo issued last week.
- Naturally, many first responders were outraged over this unthinkable move. Oren Barzilay, head of the city union whose members include uniformed EMTs and paramedics, lividly stated “They’re not giving people a second chance to live anymore.’’
- This new guideline is followed by what the Regional Emergency Services Council of New York issued earlier this month. The previous guideline similarly stated cardiac-arrest patients who can’t be revived at the scene would no longer be taken to the hospital for further life-saving attempts.
- The state Health Department insists that its new guideline has been in use “in many areas of the US as well as other locations throughout the world,” even pre-COVID-19.
“These changes are based on standards widely agreed upon by the physician leaders of EMS Regional Medical Control Systems across NYS and the Medical Standards Committee of the State Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council,” a department rep told The Post in a statement.