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Sun Mar 29, 2020, 11:40 AM

N.Y.C.'s 911 System Is Overwhelmed. 'I'm Terrified,' a Paramedic Says.

With coronavirus cases mounting, emergency workers are making life-or-death decisions about who goes to a hospital, and who is left behind.

By Ali Watkins

March 28, 2020

The first of many calls that night involved a 24-year-old man who had a fever, body aches and a cough that sounded like a cement mixer.

While the Brooklyn paramedics took the man’s fever — 103 degrees — they noticed frightening vitals that hinted at coronavirus: a critically low level of oxygen was flowing into his otherwise clear lungs, while his heart thumped with the intensity of a marathon runner’s. He was taken to the nearest hospital.

Then almost immediately came the next call: a 73-year-old man with symptoms similar to the young man’s. They took him to the hospital, too.

“It’s all a war zone,” one of the paramedics said.

Days later, another paramedic, Phil Suarez, was dispatched to two homes in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, where entire families, living in cramped apartments, appeared to be stricken with the virus.


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/28/nyregion/nyc-coronavirus-ems.html

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