Having A Heart Attack In NYC? You Could Be S.O.L. — Here’s Why

Written by Wes Walker on April 3, 2020

Even the best health care systems in the world have their limits… and with the resource and staffing strains due to the virus, NYC is hitting theirs.

And that comes with some really bad news for anyone in the Big Apple with a bad ticker.

Cardiac arrest victims whose hearts cannot be restarted at the scene are now being left there — rather than being brought to coronavirus-strained hospitals for further revival attempts, according to a new guidance for medical responders.

…Previously, people whose hearts could not be restarted on the scene would be brought to the hospital.

But the new guidance is a grim calculus that’s meant to save lives, one veteran EMS worker told The Post.

“They’re trying to do what they can with the people who have the most likely chance of being saved,” the worker said.

Under the rule, “if you can’t get revived on scene, that’s it. They’re going to work on you, but if they can’t get a pulse back, they won’t transport you” to the hospital, the worker explained. —NYPost

That means exactly what it sounds like it might mean. If they can’t restart your ticker on site… that’s all she wrote.

“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 said.

“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.” —NYPost

This is the harsh reality of hard choices that comes along with hitting any system’s max capacity.

It doesn’t matter how much skill you might have, or how shiny your hospitals are, or how advanced your techniques might be … if you don’t have the resources to deliver the needed services you have to make hard choices.

Sarah Palin was laughed at for using the term ‘Death Panels’ … but if you think that’s too harsh, ask anyone whose New York relative has a bad ticker right now what they would call this ‘allocation of available resources’.

Cuomo may be pressing this crisis as an excuse to merge the public and private sector health care. But we’ve all seen what happened with the VA, and how THAT ‘public system’ failed the people who needed it most. Rationing in those systems wears a different face — they flatten the patient curve by manipulating patient care a different way — through ‘wait times’.

Private systems, on the other hand, being profit-driven, have the flexibility to reinvest capital so they can adapt to changing demand… when government red tape like ‘Certificate of Need’ regulations don’t get in the way.

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