Some behind the scenes looks of the heroic efforts to save people
“This is not like a disease we have seen before,” said internal medicine specialist Dr. Jamie Spiegelman. He says COVID-19 does not behave like a regular pneumonia, making medical management “unpredictable and day by day we have to change what we do."
There are even signs the disease may be causing heart inflammation, kidney disease, blood clots and liver problems.
Turning over a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator requires six people. It must be done slowly and carefully so breathing tubes don’t get disconnected, which would be dangerous for the patient, but also risk spreading the virus.
“People are not getting better quickly, and they are on breathing machines for a very long time,” she said. “We don't have any treatments, all we can do is support the body with the machines we have and hope the body itself recovers from the disease."
Hospitals are also reporting shortages of sedatives, with COVID-19 patients requiring a lot of sedation to keep them calm and to prevent them from coughing -- a dangerous means of transmitting the virus to health-care workers -- during procedures.
Nurse Sugandha Pandya, who is overseeing 32 COVID-19 patients, has one message: “Just please stay home and be safe and keep us safe.”
Outside the ICU, COVID-19 patients who are less severely ill are still closely watched in case stable breathing turns into a crisis. That can happen within seconds, says nurse Ayotunde Ajiboye.
“It is a deadly disease. I wouldn’t want anybody to have it. It is unpredictable.”
“You know the fact that only a tiny percentage of the population has had this at this point, so we're still looking at many months going on,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, chief of staff.
“The economic impact of that is going to be astounding.”
Bruno Iozzo was a healthy 73-year-old before he developed a cough in late March. By the time he got to Humber River, he was gasping for breath.
He was one of the first COVID-19 patients admitted there, and he is still on a ventilator, three weeks later.
Dr. Sanjay Manocha says X-rays of Iozzo’s lungs show the toll the virus is taking. What should be black on the image is white and hazy, meaning his lungs are filled with fluid inflammation and can’t send enough oxygen into his blood.
It’s the “classic picture that we see of these corona pneumonias,” said Manocha. In Iozzo’s case, that has led to kidney failure and dialysis.
“We're learning as we go, because it's not the same and our approach is different for these patients compared to other patients who have pneumonia.”
ICU staff at Humber have yet to see any of their patients recover enough to go home.
Stay home, don't listen to herd immunity BS, this needs to be stopped.