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Hospitals at Risk of Ventilator Shortage

Hospitals at Risk of Ventilator Shortage

Health services across the globe are currently facing a strain like never before due to the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. Due to the quantity of patients being seen, certain pieces of life-saving equipment are in scarce supply, one in particular is the mechanical ventilator.

One of the many issues with this shortage is that it’s not only those suffering from COVID-19 that are need of these lifesaving pieces of equipment. For example, those who have asbestos related diseases such as mesothelioma are also in vital need of these ventilators to support their respiratory system.

These ventilators are there to assist patients that are unable to breathe by themselves, they do this by pumping air into their lungs through a tube that has been inserted into their windpipes. The COVID-19 disease, which effects the respiratory system, the volume of patients that need breathing assistance has risen exponentially meaning the number of ventilators needed has risen, leaving hospitals fearing that they will soon run out.

“This is a disease that people are dying of because of respiratory illness. They’re not dying because their heart fails. They’re not dying of shock,” said Dr. Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer at the American Lung Association. “They’re dying because they just can’t get oxygen to their bloodstream, and that makes other organs fail, as well.”

A report published last week showed found that 80% of people that contracted COVID-19 in China had mild symptoms and did not need to be treated in a hospital. They also found that of the 20% that needed to go to a hospital 13.8% had a severe disease, that included respiratory problems, with 6.1% having a critical illness, including respiratory failure. Although these stats may look small at first due to the high volume of people infected, over half a million worldwide so far, hospitals are finding themselves increasingly full with these ventilators in high demand.

The worry many hospitals are facing is for the number of patients requiring this vital pieces of equipment to outnumber the number they have. This is one of the many reason’s governments are insisting that people follow the social distancing protocols and the UK government among many others have told people to stay in their homes as much as possible, to find out more about these guidelines please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.


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