ALBANY, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Less than a week after being introduced, the state of New York has rescinded a blanket do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order prohibiting first responders from trying to resuscitate patients without a pulse.
The New York Post described the state's DNR order as "drastic" and said the new guidelines were urging first responders, when they got to a scene, "not to bother" trying to revive anyone without a pulse.
The order was handed down on April 17, ostensibly owing to the rigors of the pandemic. But three days later, at his April 20 press briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that — for the sixth straight day — the average number of hospitalized Wuhan virus patients had dropped.
On April 21, Jill Montag, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health (DOH), announced the order was being rescinded:
This guidance, proposed by physician leaders of the EMS Regional Medical Control Systems and the State Advisory Council — in accordance with American Heart Association guidance and based on standards recommended by the American College of Emergency Physicians and adopted in multiple other states — was issued April 17, 2020 at the recommendation of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and reflected nationally recognized minimum standards. However, they don't reflect New York's standards and for that reason DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker has ordered them to be rescinded.
Prior to the state's order, it was customary for paramedics to try for 20 minutes to revive patients in cardiac arrest because there was a strong chance they could survive. According to the American Heart Association, nearly 45% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive when CPR is quickly administered. Again, according to the American Heart Association, CPR "can double or triple a person's chance" of surviving sudden cardiac arrest.
Health department officials said the do-not-resuscitate guideline was "necessary during the COVID-19 response to protect the health and safety of EMS providers by limiting their exposure, conserve resources and ensure optimal use of equipment to save the greatest number of lives."
Fox News reported that a record number of first responders were out sick with the virus — 2,800 firefighters and more than 5,600 police officers. Working 17-hour shifts, first responders were even afraid to go home for fear of transmitting the virus to their family members. The state was concerned about unnecessarily exposing valuable personnel to marginal patients who might have the virus.
Catholic medical ethicists believe DNR orders based on "utilitarian" considerations take the focus off care of the patient. Marie T. Hilliard, co-chair of the Catholic Medical Association's ethics committee, told LifeSite News such actions not only erode patient trust, "but also societal trust in the healing professions is lost."
Even among Catholics, policies that promote euthanasia are being accepted. Bishops in Texas, led by Fort Worth Bp. Michael Olson, have supported end-of-life directives that allow Texas hospitals to kill their patients much the same as U.K. hospitals did to sick toddlers Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard.
As Church Militant previously reported, the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA) allows hospitals, not patients or family members, to decide when to withdraw life-sustaining care from patients if doctors deem continued care to be futile. When Texas bishops failed to stand firm against such policies, Texas Right to Life stepped in to fight.
Many bishops across the globe are failing to fight the encroachment of euthanasia.
In the United Kingdom in 2018, for example, Alfie Evans' parents were not allowed to move their sick toddler to Italy to seek alternative care. Following the removal of food, water and a breathing tube, the child died.
Nadine Dorries, a conservative member of Parliament in the House of Commons, took the bishops to task for their silence as Evans died.
"Catholic bishops and priests of England, hang your heads in shame," she admonished. "It took the pope to show you up for the weak, pathetic, blow with the winds that you truly are."