The NYSSRC is pleased to report that Respiratory Therapists have been included in the “Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act” included in the Education, Labor, Housing, and Family Assistance budget bill that is expected to pass the Senate and Assembly tonight (S.7506-B/A.9506-B, Part GGG). This Act provides certain health care professionals, including Respiratory Therapists, with immunity from civil or criminal liability “for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing health care services if …
(a) the health care facility or health care professional is arranging for or providing health care services pursuant to a COVID-19 emergency rule or otherwise in accordance with applicable law;
(b) the act or omission occurs in the course of arranging for or providing health care services and the treatment of the individual is impacted by the health care facility’s or health care professional’s decisions or activities in response to or as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and in support of the state’s directives; and
(c) the health care facility or health care professional is arranging for or providing health care services in good faith.”
The provision further notes that the immunity provided by subdivision one of this section shall not apply if the harm or damages were caused by an act or omission constituting willful or intentional criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm by the health care facility or health care professional providing health care services, provided, however, that acts, omissions or decisions resulting from a resource or staffing shortage shall not be considered to be willful or intentional criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or intentional infliction of harm. Once enacted, the immunity is in place as of March 7, 2020.
Respiratory Therapists had not been included in the series of Executive Orders that granted immunity to other front line COVID-19 providers, and the NYSSRC had been in contact throughout the past week with the Governor’s Office to work toward securing immunity for Respiratory Therapists.
AARC COVID-19 News & Resources
The AARC issued a joint statement with various professional medical organizations from across the U.S. this week, addressing the question of placing multiple patients on one ventilator. The consensus statement includes the following organizations:
- Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM)
- American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)
- American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)
- Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF)
- American Association of Critical‐Care Nurses (AACN)
- American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST)
The above‐named organizations advise clinicians that sharing mechanical ventilators should not be attempted because it cannot be done safely with current equipment. Attempting to ventilate multiple patients with COVID‐19, given the issues described here, could lead to poor outcomes and high mortality rates for all patients cohorted. It is better to purpose the ventilator to the patient most likely to benefit than fail to prevent, or even cause, the demise of multiple patients.
To accompany this statement, the AARC developed a new Guidance Document to address SARS CoV-2. The document brings together the current experiences coming from China, Italy and the U.S. (Seattle & New York) along with some commonsense approaches from past lessons learned. These discussions are prompted by the frequent questions we receive by email and phone. Whenever possible, the statements here are supported by the most recent findings.
Just as caring for your patients is your top priority, caring for AARC members is our top priority. We want you to stay safe and to have the most appropriate information and tools. Be sure to check the AARC.org site often for the latest updates. The AARC sees the hard work and dedication you devote each day to your communities. Thank you for all you do.
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