New York City Emergency Medical Service (EMS) teams who cannot find or restart a pulse while administering CPR on adult cardiac arrest patients have been instructed not to bring those patients to hospitals to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure to EMS workers, according to a memo obtained by CNN and the chair of the regional emergency medical advisory committee familiar with the edict.
“In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of NYPD,” states the memo sent to NYC EMS providers outlining the temporary change issued in response to the ongoing pandemic.
If the New York Police Department (NYPD) response is delayed, EMS teams are instructed to call the police department’s Dead on Arrival Removal teams, according to the memo.
Josef Schenker Chair of the New York City Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee (REMAC) — which issued the memo — explains that the patients that fall into this category — cardiac arrest patients who fail to regain pulse after CPR in the field — are less likely to be revived and transporting them puts EMS workers at risk. The transport in an enclosed space, the ambulance, can potentially expose EMT’s to COVID-19.
The memo was issued effective immediately on March 31, 2020.
CNN: EMTs in New York instructed not to bring cardiac arrest patients to hospital if no pulse is found after administering CPR
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