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Southern California COVID Crisis Out of Control; Medical Personnel Debate Triage and “Rationing Care”

Southern California COVID Crisis Out of Control; Medical Personnel Debate Triage and “Rationing Care”

It is no exaggeration to say that the COVID situation in California, especially Southern California, is horrific. Overwhelmed by rapidly accelerating numbers of cases, and lacking the space or resources to properly treat patients, doctors and hospital administrators are now discussing  triage and rationing care. The Schiller Institute’s call for building a global healthcare system–training a youth medical corps and implementing a crash program to build hospitals in record time, as China did–is urgently needed. Otherwise, the murderous policies of Joe Biden’s medical adviser Ezekiel Emmanuel–“EZ Kill”–will become the norm.

Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that stay-at-home orders for the southern part of the state have been extended for another 2-3 weeks. Detailed reports in the {Los Angeles Times} and {New York Times} document the level of crisis in all LA County hospitals that are so inundated with patients that they’re putting them in conference rooms, gift shops, hallways, lobbies or in quickly-constructed tents in parking lots. Even so, they are running out of space.  The LA County-USC Medical Center, as of the evening of Dec. 27, didn’t have one available bed for at least 30 patients who needed either intensive or immediate levels of care, and the hospital had to close its doors for all ambulance traffic for 12 hours. The situation is the same in the Community Hospital of Huntington Park, and Memorial Hospital of Gardena.

Over the Christmas holiday weekend, all LA County hospitals struggled to deal with increasing numbers of patients and are now bracing for a new wave of COVID cases as a result of Christmas travel and family gatherings. As of the morning of Dec. 28, there were 54 available ICU beds across all of LA County–and half were for pediatric patients.

Under these extreme conditions, the {Los Angeles Times} notes that doctors “are no longer pulling out all the stops to save a life, and instead [are] strategizing about where to most effectively use resources and equipment.” Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Willowbrook, warns “we’re at a turning point. If it continues to get worse, many hospitals will begin rationing care.” Huntington Hospital in Pasadena issued an information sheet for patients and their families on Dec. 28, warning that should the situation “reach a point where our hospital faces a shortage that will affect our ability to care for all patients,” then a clinical committee consisting of doctors, a community member, a bioethicist, a spiritual care provider and other experts “will review the cases of all patients who are critically ill…and make necessary decisions about allocating limited medical resources based on the best medical information possible.” The hospital added that this “unburdens bedside staff from making any decisions about triaging care when resources are scarce.”  Dr. Brad Spellberg, the Chief Medical Officer of Huntington Hospital explains, “We were just completely overwhelmed,” trying to “daily, hourly, cobble together solutions to get us through this crisis.” This hospital has one of the largest trauma centers in the western U.S., but conditions here have been steadily worsening since Thanksgiving.

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