A man in cardiac arrest died last month at a California care facility after paramedics, who were outside the building, refused to enter because of supposed COVID rules.
But the city leaders suggest there are no such rules that would have forbade them from entering the facility:
YAHOO NEWS – When the police officer entered a room at a southern California care facility last month, he found a panicked nurse performing chest compressions on a patient, body-camera footage shows. The patient was in cardiac arrest, and the staff did not have the proper equipment to help, according to a police report.
But just outside the entrance of the building stood paramedics equipped with possible lifesaving tools. They had refused to cross the threshold, claiming it was against state covid rules, according to the report.
So the officer jumped into action, helping the staff push the bed, which was not on wheels, through the building and out the front door to the first responders from the Rialto Fire Department.
The patient, who has not been identified by authorities, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The officer’s five-minute body-camera video troubled city leaders, acting Fire Chief Brian Park said in a statement Wednesday. In response, the fire department placed the paramedics on leave pending a third-party investigation, and the city council ordered the public release of the footage.
“We want to have a thorough investigation, and the actions [of the paramedics], if they were not in any way in keeping with policy, or even if it was, it will be addressed,” Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson said at a city council meeting last week.
The paramedics outside the care facility might have been referencing an outdated April 2020 coronavirus memo from the San Bernardino County Fire Chiefs’ Association, which noted that “personnel responding to long-term care facilities” should take steps to “minimize any potential risk for exposure,” according to KTTV. One solution was for the dispatch centers to request the facility bring the patient outside. But the memo also said that if a patient cannot be moved, a first responder can enter and “interact with the patient.”
In interviews with police days after the incident, care facility employees, who are not identified, said they rely on paramedics for help with “advanced life support care to patients who are in cardiac arrest.” Those situations include defibrillation, intubation, IV access and medication administration, according to the report.
Staff added they had called paramedics several times since the start of the pandemic and never encountered responders refusing to enter the building. One care center employee, who was on the phone with emergency dispatch during the incident, said the dispatcher insisted the paramedics “have to come in,” the report says.
What a horrible situation. I don’t know if these paramedics truly believed they’d be violating rules if they entered the facility or if they just didn’t want to go in. Either way, this is the result of authoritarian policies and the fear mongering that goes along with them. And a man who could have potentially been saved died because of it.
I will say that even if these paramedics thought the rules wouldn’t allow them in, they should have entered and rendered aid anyway because that’s what first responders do in a crisis. The fact that they just stood there and let this man die over ‘rules’ means they should probably be in another line of work.