Emergency calls never end

AmericaEileen Cegarra, 56, overseeing the Care Ambulance Service Coordination Center in Los Angeles, received an emergency call from a “seemingly endless” Covid-19 patient’s family member.

“In 30 years I haven’t seen so many calls,” said Eileen Cegarra. For emergency teams in California, the shift never ends. Jennifer Mueller, 30, a medical technician at the Care Ambulance Service, is open 24 hours a day. She said the pandemic caused both mental and physical harm to people in the industry.

“Everyone is exhausted. Everyone is tired. We follow our calls to help people. But we can only do that,” Ms. Mueller said in her rare spare moments. Cegarra also said: “The calls don’t stop even when the team is in the ER”. The ER is the emergency room of the hospital.

California hospitals are taking in too many patients. Outside of many medical facilities, an ambulance carrying Covid-19 patients waits for hours until there is room in the intensive care unit (ICU) or the emergency room (ER). The hospital delayed unnecessary surgeries, made room for serious cancer treatments and heart operations.

Patient waits on a stretcher in cold weather. All Mueller could do was give them the blanket. “They are in pain. It’s painful,” she said.

Medical staff urgently disinfected an ambulance after carrying a Covid-19 patient at the Los Angeles County Medical Center, Jan. 5. Image: AP

California, the most populous state with nearly 40 million people, has recorded the majority of nCoV infections in the US since November 2020. Los Angeles health officials report that one person dies every 8 minutes from Covid-19. More than 1% of people with a positive result will die, according to an estimate by the Department of Public Health.

The coordinator Jaime Hopper, 29, witnessed many traumatic scenes. “The other day, there was a time when I got 9 calls. That means 9 people are in need of emergency. That’s terrible, but you still have to try to do what you can,” he said.

Los Angeles hospital overcrowding has become so severe that many ambulance teams are advised to limit the use of oxygen ventilators and not give people virtually no chance of living in hospital. The authorities believe that patients who can survive should be given priority.

Hospitals are speeding up discharge, instead of letting the people stay behind for treatment as usual. This measure helps to improve the situation, but authorities are still concerned that admitting new patients will slow down the discharge of lesser cases.

In the face of pressure on medical equipment resources, the Los Angeles Emergency Medical Services Agency (EMS) issued a directive on Jan. 4 that ambulance teams needed to save oxygen by providing only supplies. for patients with oxygen saturation levels below 90%.

As of January 18, the US had recorded more than 24 million CoV infections and at least 407,000 deaths. In which 14 million people have recovered, 28,000 serious cases.

Thuc Linh (According to the Reuters)


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