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'We Are Not Abandoning Resuscitation': LA County Healthcare Leader Speaks Out After Memo Raises Concerns

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Los Angeles County hospitals are so inundated, officials said they're just trying to provide the best care they can for the people who need it.

But a recent memo from a healthcare leader about how to go about treating patients has some residents concerned.

Officials said there's no need for alarm, as they are continuing to treat people who are ill with the same urgency and care they always have.

The memo sent out on December 28 by the medical director of L.A. County's Emergency Medical Services agency, Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill, addressed how first responders should treat stroke and heart attack patients, saying a patient should be treated at the scene first and have a pulse during resuscitation before transporting them to the hospital.

Since the memo began circulating online, many people have questioned whether first responders would deny taking stroke and heart attack patients to the hospital because of the coronavirus surge.

The medical director of L.A. County's Emergency Services Agency, Dr. Marianne Gausche-Hill, assured CBS2 that officials continue to do all they can to save patients' lives at the scene and the hospital, as they always have.

"We are not abandoning resuscitation," Gausche-Hill said. "We are absolutely doing best practice resuscitation and that is do it in the field, do it right away… What we're asking is that — which is slightly different than before — is that we are emphasizing the fact that transporting these patients arrested leads to very poor outcomes. We knew that already and we just don't want to impact our hospitals."

Treating heart attack and stroke patients at the scene instead of on the way to the hospitals can increase chances of survival, Gausche-Hill said.

People experiencing life-threatening medical emergencies are urged to call 911 and seek care immediately. 

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