NYS’s radical new guideline for EMTs – do not resuscitate – update


Update at the end

The State of New York just issued a radical new guideline that has left first responders outraged. What happened to the mantra, if we even save one life, it’s worth it?

The NY Post reports that New York state guidelines now recommend emergency services workers not to bother trying reviving anyone without a pulse when they get to a scene. The reason is they have too many coronavirus patients.

Prior to this, they could spend up to 20 minutes trying to revive people in cardiac arrest. While only 3 in 4 is revived, it’s still 4 in 4. As one medical service worker said, for them, “it’s a big deal.”

Health officials claim the change is “necessary during the COVID-19 response to protect the health and safety of EMS providers by limiting their exposure, conserve resources, and ensure optimal use of equipment to save the greatest number of lives,’’ according to a state Health Department memo issued last week.

First responders strongly disagree.

“They’re not giving people a second chance to live anymore,’’ Oren Barzilay, head of the city union whose members include uniformed EMTs and paramedics, fumed.

“Our job is to bring patients back to life. This guideline takes that away from us,” he said.

“Now you don’t get 20 minutes of CPR if you have no rhythm,” a veteran FDNY Emergency Medical Services worker told The Post, referring to cardiac-arrest patients who have no heartbeat when paramedics arrive. “They simply let you die.”

UPDATE: In a statement sent to syracuse.com | The Post-Standard on Wednesday, the New York State Health Department said it has since “rescinded” the order because it doesn’t reflect state standards.

“This guidance, proposed by physician leaders of the EMS Regional Medical Control Systems and the State Advisory Council — in accordance with American Heart Association guidance and based on standards recommended by the American College of Emergency Physicians and adopted in multiple other states — was issued April 17, 2020 at the recommendation of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and reflected ‎nationally recognized minimum standards. However, they don’t reflect New York’s standards and for that reason DOH commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has ordered them to be rescinded,” the statement said.

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