The death panels are real and they’re at your door.
Last month, I noted that California had added only 8% more ICU beds during the pandemic. With plenty of time to get ready for a winter surge, almost nothing, not counting French Laundry parties featuring top medical establishment brass, along with Governor Newsom, was done.
But that’s the California Democrat way. Don’t add dams, use the drought to force rationing. Don’t add power capacity, use the blackouts to impose rationing. And don’t add hospital beds, use the surge to kill people.
It’s the socialist way.
In a sign of the strain the surge is putting on 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 have oxygen saturation levels below 90%. To reduce demand on hospitals, the agency last week issued memos directing ambulance staff not to transfer to hospitals most patients who have virtually no chance of survival.
In their judgement. And they can decline to take patients they think are low-risk. So we’ve got triage at the EMS level.
The L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency is run by Christina Ghaly who went from being a resident to working for McKinsey to becoming the Deputy Director for Strategic Planning for the LA County DHS within some 6 years. That’s quite a speedy rise for a young woman, but then again she appears to be married to Mark Ghaly.
And Mark Ghaly is a close ally of Governor Newsom who heads California’s HHS and has taken a well-deserves beating over some dubious pandemic recommendations. Ghaly’s prime talent, like most in Newsom’s orbit, appears to be slavish devotion to his leader.
At all costs.
The next day, Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of the California Health and Human Services Agency, made similar remarks at his news conference. Click didn’t answer a question about whether Ghaly was aware Newsom attended the party before it was reported.
Back to the triage. All of this wouldn’t be so bad if there were room for some independent operations. Take the case of Hatzolah, an Orthodox Jewish volunteer ambulance group whose members were among the first to respond on 9/11 and suffered injuries during the attack.
And they do it without pay or charge.
While Hatzolah’s volunteers are able to respond to calls and transport patients in New York City, they’re not allowed to do it in Los Angeles because it’s a union gig.
But Hatzolah, as the organization is sometimes alternatively spelled, has long struggled to gain traction in Los Angeles, where the city fire department is the exclusive provider of emergency ambulance services. The organization has applied to Los Angeles County for an ambulance license that would allow it to transport patients during non-emergencies, said Cathy Chidester, director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency.
If Hatzolah receives a license, she said, it will be able to transport patients during non-emergencies anywhere in the county except Los Angeles, which requires that it apply for a second permit first. The county license would allow Hatzolah to transport non-critical patients to or from a medical facility but would prohibit it from performing more than basic life support, like CPR, or responding and transporting patients during medical emergencies, like a stroke, heart attack or shooting.
Hatzolah’s ultimate goal is to be permitted by the city to transport patients and respond with ambulances to emergency calls using lights and sirens — a practice called Code 3 — just like the fire department. But this has been met with strong pushback from the Los Angeles Fire Department and its firefighters’ union, which both point to their agency’s jurisdiction and argue that allowing another entity to respond to emergencies creates a public safety issue.
We wouldn’t want volunteers actually saving lives when we take them instead.
My experiences with LAFD’s EMS responders was that, like their counterparts in New York, they were rude, abrasive, poorly trained, and uninterested in helping patients. Unlike New York City and many other places, the system is rigged so that they have minimal competition.
State law says county emergency medical services agencies can create “exclusive operating areas,” like the city of Los Angeles, where ambulance providers can operate. The county can either conduct a competitive process to select providers or select existing providers — such as city fire departments — that have provided these services consistently for decades. While there are 31 licensed ambulance companies in the city of Los Angeles, the Department of Transportation says only the local fire department can respond Code 3 to 911-type calls.
At Hatzolah’s licensing hearing last month at the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency office in Santa Fe Springs — which was packed with some 80 Jewish community members — one of the hearing officers, Capt. Terry Millsaps of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, said Hatzolah’s dispatch manual would need significant revisions before Hatzolah is granted an ambulance license.
He said that most of the manual is written as if Hatzolah is operating as a 911 provider, and that Hatzolah’s current practice of alerting 911 to emergencies and simultaneously sending its own responders to a scene without authorization is in violation of the county code.
The L.A. County Emergency Medical Services Agency maintains control in the name of public safety, even as it lets people die in the name of… public safety.
Then blame the whole thing on people not wearing enough masks outside.
Why spend all this time fighting to stop volunteers from helping people for free to protect a municipal union and its personnel? It’s one of those questions that answers itself.
And if you think this is bad, wait for the full universal health care treatment.
The same government that promises to give you everything, takes it away instead. And this is the socialized medicine model in a nutshell.