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New NYC guidelines tell paramedics to not bring cardiac arrest patients to ER without a pulse



Photo by Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City is telling its paramedics to avoid bringing cardiac arrest patients without a pulse to the emergency room amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

What are the details?

According to WNBC-TV, the move to help alleviate local medical facilities from being overwhelmed by placing priority on the coronavirus patients.

The order states that if a person cannot be revived in the field — if a pulse cannot be found — they are not permitted to be transported to an emergency room for further treatment except under limited circumstances.

The station reported that "if the body is in public view, the EMTs can call NYPD to safeguard the body until the Medical Examiner or funeral home can pick it up."

Such orders, according to Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Dwyer, are "binding."

"[T]he FDNY will devise a plan for implementation," he added.

The guidance, which was issued Tuesday, also applies to Nassau and Suffolk counties and goes into effect Thursday.

On Thursday, the New York Post reported that the COVID-19 outbreak has left emergency services and ambulance companies overwhelmed with calls.

The outlet obtained a memo detailing the new practice.

What else?

One EMT worker speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Post, "They're trying to do what they can with the people who have the most likely chance of being saved."

The source added, "if you can't get revived on scene, that's it. They're going to work on you, but if they can't get a pulse back, they won't transport you."

"Artificial ventilation and/or compressions must not be delayed," the memo continued, pointing out that chest "compressions must begin as soon as it is determined the patient does not have a pulse."

"No adult non-traumatic or blunt traumatic cardiac arrest is to be transported to a hospital with manual or mechanical compression in progress without either return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) or a direct order from a medical control physician unless there is imminent physical danger to the EMS provider on the scene," the new guideline added.

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