Terror: With Hospitals Overwhelmed, Los Angeles Tells Ambulances to Abandon Care of Certain Patients in Peril

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson


Amid not being able to handle basic tasks like road maintenance despite sky-rocketed taxes, Los Angeles — the nation’s most populated county comprised of more than 10 million people — is now issuing a morbid missive related to the most critical and basic thing of all: saving lives in peril.


As reported by The Los Angeles Times, the COVID-19 surge has reached such a height and hospitals are so overwhelmed, on Monday, the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency issued memos “directing ambulance staff not to transfer to hospitals most patients who have virtually no chance of survival.”

The Daily Wire notes the area’s intensive care units are struggling; some morgues have even run out of space.

As for “virtually no chance,” what constitutes such a thing?

The Times defined the deadly designation:

Patients who are not to be transported to hospitals include those whose hearts have stopped and despite efforts at resuscitation, have no signs of breathing, movement, a pulse or blood pressure and would be declared dead at the scene. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians are to continue to try to resuscitate in the field until a pulse can be restored, after which a patient could be stabilized and transported to a hospital.

According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jeffrey Smith, the missive is “very specific to patients who suffered from a cardiac arrest and are unable to be revived in the field.”

He explained to CNN:

“Those patients have a very low rate of survival even if they are transported to the hospital.”

But some chance is still a chance, and the virus is old, old news. How are we here again?

“At this time,” the Jeffrey continued, “[taking them to the hospital] is deemed to likely be futile.”


L.A. County Director of Health services Dr. Christina Ghaly lamented at a January 4th press briefing that medical centers are already “having to make very tough decisions about patient care.”

On a personal note, I recently spoke to a hospital staffer in the area.

Here’s the horror they relayed:

“Our four ICUs have expanded to five, and we are running out of vents. They are considering a death committee to see who is going to qualify for a vent, and we are not the only hospital considering this. This is the death squad deciding who will live and who we will let die.”

Dr. Christina said seeds for the current spike were planted over Thanksgiving.


“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.”

More from the Wire:

Elected officials said last week that the county would begin temporarily storing bodies at the coroner’s office because many hospital morgues had reached capacity, while funeral homes and mortuaries remain backlogged.

The increase of COVID-19 patients has also strained oxygen-delivery systems at several area hospitals and created a shortage of portable oxygen tanks.

Also on Monday, the county’s EMS Agency instructed ambulance crews to “only administer supplemental oxygen to patients with oxygen saturation below 90%.”


So where do we go from here, on the West Coast and nationally?

Well, 15 Days to Slow the Spread ended nearly ten months ago.

Since then, where the trajectory of the pandemic’s concerned, much of the forecast has been foreboding:

Stay tuned for more.

And most importantly, stay safe.



See more pieces from me:

University President Sends a Letter Announcing the School’s Top Priority: Racial Justice and Equity

Tulane Students Submit a List of Demands Including Fossil Fuel Divestment – to Protect Them From Health-Hampering Hurricanes

Three Musical Acts Refuse Their Own Grammy Nominations Because They’re White

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