LA County hospitals prepare for triage workers to ration care as Covid-19 cases overwhelm

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Once a hospital reaches a phase called ‘crisis-care mode’, triage workers from the county’s four public hospitals will be responsible for deciding how to allocate and reallocate fear resources like ventilators for critically ill patients with a. goal of “doing the most good for most people,” according to new guidelines released by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“Allocation decisions will be deciding which patients will receive which resource, and in some circumstances this may involve decisions to take scarce resources from one patient and give them to another who is more likely to benefit.” , as directed.

The extraordinary move comes as Los Angeles County hospitals treat more than 8,000 patients with Covid-19, a growing number that has shown no sign of slowing down as the region continues to report thousands of new cases every day .

As of Friday, only 54 beds for adults in intensive care were available in the county of 10 million people. Some hospitals are using church gymnasiums as units, county supervisor Hilda Solis said earlier this week, calling the situation a “human catastrophe.”

The most likely shortage will be that of staff, according to the guidelines. In the event of a shortage of respiratory therapists, for example, the officer would decide whether a patient’s ventilator would be managed by a therapist or a physician.

The guidelines emphasize fairness and equity, but note that frontline healthcare workers will have some preference.

Triage workers are part of the county’s emergency plan and must be assigned when a hospital goes into “emergency care mode”.

While no Los Angeles County hospital is in this situation today, four have notified the state that they are “approaching or entering crisis care at some point.”

The California Department of Public Health declined to name specific hospitals for fear it would discourage future critical notifications.

When a hospital notifies the state that it has entered crisis care, regional and state resources are immediately mobilized to return the hospital to conventional or emergency care as quickly as possible, according to the Department of Health of the state.

No county in California is currently rationing life-saving care or supplies, the department said.

CNN’s Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.

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