First Responders Told To Stop Trying To Save Patients Who Don't Have Pulse

Holly Matkin

New York state health officials told emergency-services workers to stop trying to revive people who don't have a pulse.

New York, NY – The New York State Health Department has urged first responders not to make any attempts to revive people who don’t have a pulse when they arrive at the scene.

The recommendation, which was issued on April 16, stunned emergency workers who have been struggling to help patients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Post reported.

Paramedics had previously been instructed to devote up to 20 minutes to attempting to revive citizens who have gone into cardiac arrest.

“Now you don’t get 20 minutes of CPR if you have no rhythm,” one veteran New York Fire Department paramedic explained, referring to patients who no don’t have a heartbeat when emergency personnel arrive at the scene.

“They simply let you die,” he told the New York Post.

The paramedic estimated that maybe three or four percent of patients who have no pulse are brought back to life through the use of CPR and other aggressive intervention efforts.

“[But] for those 3 or 4 people, it’s a big deal,” he stressed.

In a memo outlining the proposed change, the state Health Department said the do-not-resuscitate directive 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 the New York Post.

Oren Barzilay, president of the Uniformed EMT’s, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY, was outraged by the state’s recommendation.

“They’re not giving people a second chance to live anymore,’’ Barzilay told the New York Post. “Our job is to bring patients back to life. This guideline takes that away from us.”

According to the state Health Department, similar do-not-resuscitate directives have been in place “in many areas of the U.S. as well as other locations throughout the world” since well before the pandemic.

“These changes are based on standards widely agreed upon by the physician leaders of EMS Regional Medical Control Systems across NYS and the Medical Standards Committee of the State Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council,” a health department spokesperson insisted in a statement to the New York Post.

Within a day of the state Health Department’s directive, the FDNY issued a letter to its emergency services workers instructing them to continue making efforts to revive patients even if they don’t have a heartbeat, the New York Post reported.

“The NYC 911 system will continue to maintain a higher level of care,” the letter read.

Earlier in April, the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City (REMSCO), the state-designated coordinating entity for the region, issued a directive barring paramedics from transporting patients to emergency rooms for cardiac arrest if they were unable to save the person in the field, 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.

Under the REMSCO directive, emergency medical personnel were still instructed to spend up to 20 minutes reviving cardiac arrest patients.

If those efforts failed, they were to be left at the scene with New York police in most cases.

“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 were also 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.

As of Wednesday, 251,690 New York residents had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and 17,671 have died, according to Bing's COVID-19 Tracker.

Comments (45)
No. 1-17
GrumpyVet
GrumpyVet

That's an order that needs to be ignored! The Constitution guarantees us "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". It is a first responders duty/job to do all they can to bring others back to life, regardless of what type of life the patient leads.

I understand that there is a risk of getting the virus, but (just like a war), y'all are on the front line, which I (and a multitude of others) appreciate. Stay safe!

Judid292
Judid292

My question is, when I get on scene and family is doing CPR..... do I just NOT take over? What if they are (dead-no heartbeat) not COVID related?
This is crazy. Idk if I could respond and not give life saving actions. Could anyone?

NYXX
NYXX

In Arizona, we work non-traumatic codes vigorously on scene and if we do not get ROSC after 3-4 rounds of meds and quality CPR, we patch and let the Doc know and we call them on scene and leave them with PD. If there are extenuating circumstances, such as pediatric situations, we will transport. We've been doing this for years and it takes pressure off of busy ERs that aren't going to do anything different than what we've already done. I disagree with not working a code at all. That goes against everything we've been trained to do and is just wrong in my opinion.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

most agencies in the US don't transport cardiac arrest patients. we stopped doing that 10+ years ago. Work for 20 minutes than re-evaluate if they have any chance of revival. There are exceptions, but they are in the minority. if we don't get a pulse back, we call it, because the science says they aren't going to make it.

I have a feeling there is more to this directive form the Dept of Health than is being reported.

Chief Deputy
Chief Deputy

Sounds like this could cover up a lot of homicides that will, if not at all, hard to solve. Just thinking outside the box

MeanJoe
MeanJoe

I agree with Iseewherethisisgoing, it has been proven that if you are in asystole and do not respond to ACLS in the field, you are not going respond to it in the hospital.

Chief Deputy - Every cop I know hates it when we resuscitate at a crime scene. Doing resuscitation is the fastest way to destroy evidence at a scene.

RunningFromNY
RunningFromNY

And so it begins . . . in Michigan you can't paint a room in your house . . . in Washingtom you can't work a construction job and support your family UNLESS it is a government project . . . in Mississippi you can't sit in your car and listen to your pastor on the radio . . . in many places an innocent citizen can be locked up for leaving their home for a purpose not approved by the government while convicted criminals are relased from custody . . . and now the government in New York has decreed who will be left to die in the street.

Power grab and extinction of liberty in the name of public health anyone? Can re-education camps be far behind? You will obey . . . or else.

Stanracer
Stanracer

New York just opened itself up to more lawsuits. Smart, real smart.....🤔

bryantrent
bryantrent

Crazy

Captain3
Captain3

There is only one word to describe this type of inaction and that word is "Cuomo". The only person in the state that I would not revive. In a speech he made earlier he talked about your responsibility to not only protect your own life by staying home, but the lives of others including his own life. Don't folks "not" dying from COVD have the same right to live as he does?

GrumpyVet
GrumpyVet

Hey Gretchen, you're talking about what happened under obummer! Quit blaming republicans for the crap your own party does!

1BigHunter
1BigHunter

Being from NY I can tell you that this is reason number 1,025,658 to NOT live there. Libertards ruining it...3

TBeatty
TBeatty

This is a misleading story. The change is that it gives the on-scene first responders the ability to declare a person dead. Normally, a person would be transported and not declared dead at the scene unless it's obvious. This doesn't mean they are alive. There are lots of care providers that have a "no one dies here" and transport everyone to ER where the ER declares them dead. While this makes for great stats for those facilities, it burdens the ambulance and ER departments. This policy allows the FD to declare death rather than passing it off.

sanman899
sanman899

Democrats are America's CANCER!!!

Terry in GA
Terry in GA

Hmmm, should they stop trying to revive overdose patients, too? While that would save a bunch of money on Narcan, along with hospital costs and rehab facilities, I don't think that is what America wants to become.

rolblue
rolblue

Then why do we need them?

flybynight
flybynight

Ok first responders, if you roll up on lowestcom and he has no heartbeat, just move on, he's good with that. Mark him DNR.


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