LA ambulances told LEAVE patients with little chance of survival – hospitals overwhelmed

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It comes as intensive care units in Southern California hospitals face running at full capacity amid soaring coronavirus case numbers in the US. Southern California itself is thought to be where some of the nation’s worst outbreaks are occurring.

Data published on Monday by the Los Angeles County Health Services shows there were just 139 total available hospital beds left across four health service hospitals.

The same figures also showed there were just 17 ICU beds available across the same four centres.

Now, a memo sent out by emergency medical services and obtained by CNN shows ambulance crews are being told to perform resuscitation for at least 20 minutes if there is no sign of breathing or a pulse.

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If a pulse cannot be restored or if the patient is declared dead at the scene, crews have been told not to take them to hospital.

A note issued by Dr Marianne Gausche-Hill of the EMS Agency reads: “Effective immediately, due to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on EMS and 911 receiving hospitals, adult patients in blunt traumatic and nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest shall not be transported if return of spontaneous circulation is not achieved in the field.

“For penetrating torso trauma only, paramedics will contact the Trauma Centre while initiating resuscitation to determine if immediate transport is advised.”

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Meanwhile state health services are also dealing with an oxygen shortage.

As such paramedics in Los Angeles and San Joaquin Valley have been forced to take measures to conserve their supply.

Ambulance teams have been instructed not to administer supplemental oxygen to patients unless their oxygen levels fall below 90 percent.

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Another document obtained by CNN and signed by Dr Gausche-Hill reads: “An oxygen saturation of 90 percent is sufficient to maintain normal tissue perfusion in most patients.

“For patients with hypoxia (O2 saturation <90 percent), the minimum amount of oxygen necessary to maintain the oxygen saturation at or just above 90 percent shall be administered.”

Higher oxygen levels are also allowed for patients with traumatic brain injuries, carbon monoxide poisoning, suspected pneumothorax, or shock.

Last week, California governor Gavin Newsom formed a task force to address oxygen shortages in the state.

The task force is aiming to replenish supplies by working with regional partners.

According to the Los Angeles Times, California alone confirmed 74,135 new cases of coronavirus on Monday this week – more than the UK’s daily case numbers.

It brings the total confirmed number of cases in the state to 2,453,115. There were also 379 deaths yesterday, bringing that total to 27,016, according to the same figures.

The US as a whole announced 212,117 new cases of coronavirus according to yesterday’s data, the CDC said.

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