Amid COVID-19 surge, L.A. County ambulance crews told not to transport patients who have little chance of survival

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The situation in L.A. County hospitals is so critical that ambulance crews have been advised to try to cut back on their use of oxygen and not to bring to hospitals patients who have virtually no chance of survival. Officials now say they need to focus on patients with a greater chance of surviving.

The measures were taken as circumstances were expected to worsen in coming weeks, when patients sickened over the Christmas holiday will need treatment, leaving officials desperate for ways to increase capacity and triage care to focus on the sickest patients.

Hospitals are moving to rapidly discharge ill patients who, in less-crowded situations, would normally be allowed to stay for continued observation. That has helped, but officials fear the flood of new patients — many with COVID-19 — is outpacing their ability to move less critical patients out.

In a sign of the strain the surge is putting on critical medical supplies needed for severely ill patients, the L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency issued a directive Monday that ambulance crews should conserve oxygen by administering it only to patients who had oxygen saturation levels below 90%.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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