Certains patients n’ont pu être réanimés par les ambulanciers cet été | Le Devoir

Montreal paramedics were told not not to perform CPR on some people whose hearts had stopped for five months this year, since it was seen as too risky at a time when COVID-19 wasn’t well understood.

The regional Emergency Medical Ambulance Services for Montreal and Laval, Urgences Santé, reportedly stopped performing Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation for patients in cardiac arrest last April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to protect ambulance crews (paramedics) and in order not to overwhelm hospitals a decision was made to not perform the life-saving procedure, known as CPR.

This information, only coming to light in local media reports today, is quite distressing. With hundreds of ambulance calls each day how many patients were not saved as a result of this policy? Why was this policy not disclosed at that time? Were families informed at each call? Did this policy extend to the Montreal Fire Department First Responders as well?

On a local level, did Cote Saint-Luc EMS, once back in service after being shutdown for several month, also abide by this policy? If so, how many cardiac arrest victims were not resuscitated? What were their ages?

These questions deserve answers. I hope local media will pursue this and inform the public.

As a former Emergency Medical Technician, with more than 18 years at Urgences Santé, I have great respect for our paramedics and know full well the stress they are under at the best of times. I have performed CPR some 125 times during my many years on the ambulance, in doctors’ cars and as a volunteer at CSL EMS. This policy would have weighed very heavy on my conscience as I’m sure it did for all ambulance crews this year. The desire to rush to assist those in need is intense and any prevention of such service is unimaginable. I hope all those paramedics are well. I also hope answers will be provided.


Quebec health minister dodges question about do-not-resuscitate order to paramedics, Montreal Gazette, Nov. 24, 2020

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