New York, NY – New York City paramedics can no longer take patients to emergency rooms for cardiac arrest if they cannot save the person in the field.
The Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City (REMSCO), the state-designated coordinating entity for the region, issued the guidance to all five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, WNBC reported.
Under normal circumstances, paramedics transport heart attack patients to emergency rooms even if there is no blood flow in the patient.
Medics would usually perform CPR and other lifesaving measures in the back of the ambulance while transporting the heart attack victim, WNBC reported.
But now REMSCO has said that should not happen anymore.
REMSCO said that if paramedics cannot revive a heart attack patient in the field, they should not be transported to an emergency room, WNBC reported.
The new guidance said that if a patient’s heart cannot be restarted at the scene, they should be left at the scene where it stopped, the New York Post reported.
“Artificial ventilation and/or compressions must not be delayed,” read a REMSCO memo obtained by the New York Post. It added that chest “compressions must begin as soon as it is determined the patient does not have a pulse.”
But then it said not to take the patient to the emergency room if lifesaving efforts fail at the scene.
“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 directive read.
“In the event a resuscitation is terminated, and the body is in public view, the body can be left in the custody of the NYPD,” REMSCO instructed emergency medical responders.
Medics have been given an “NYPD DOA Removal” telephone number to use if New York Police Department (NYPD) officers are delayed in responding to the scene, the New York Post reported.
The New York Post reported that NYPD senior officials had discussed creating three “DOA Teams” to deal with collecting the mounting number of dead bodies expected in the city due to the pandemic.
The teams would be made up of detectives who volunteered for the duty.
“The idea of creating a Borough DOA Team is being look [sic] at and we only want volunteers for it . . . no forcing anybody,” read an email message obtained by the New York Post. “It would be three teams (2 investigators per team).”
The message said one team would work from 6 am to 2:30 p.m., the second team would cover from 6 p.m. until 2:30 a.m., and the third team of body collectors would have flexible hours.
NYPD brass promised at least 60 hours of overtime a month for collecting dead bodies, twice as much as would usually be permitted, but sources told the New York Post that most officers wouldn’t touch working for a dead-body squad during a pandemic for any amount of money.
“I would never do it for money,” an NYPD source said. “This could be life or death or long-term health disability. To make a few pennies extra is not worth the effects of it.”
Another source told the New York Post the extra overtime was “blood money.”
New York Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) President Ed Mullins said the rank-and-file has every reason to be concerned and that officers needed a lot more training and proper equipment before they’re sent to deal with bodies carrying coronavirus.
“It’s what we did after 9/11,” Mullins said. “A lot of people got sick and a lot of them are dead. It’s part of our job with the proper training, with the proper equipment and with the proper protocol.”
“To involve people who have no background in it is putting people’s lives in jeopardy. Right now, every cop is working under hazardous conditions,” the union boss added.
An NYPD spokesperson told the New York Post that the department had considered the “DOA Teams” but said the idea had been tabled for the time being.
There were 6,172 NYPD officers and staff out sick on Wednesday, almost 17 percent of the department’s entire work force, the New York Post reported.
On Thursday, there were 92,381 New York residents who had tested positive for coronavirus, and 2,373 have died, according to Bing’s COVID-19 Tracker.
Of those, there are 51,809 positive cases in New York City and 1,397 people have died there.