US Ventilator Resources for COVID-19

I have purposefully kept quite and obtained data regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. I don’t like to open my mouth or write unless I have a pretty good grasp on what is going on. My crew and I are going to be on the front lines when this thing hits, and I believe it’s going to hit. I hope I’m wrong. The majority of the people who follow my page are going to be on the front lines, too. That being said, the system is going to be stressed for resources. I have already heard from different regions of the country and I’m concerned about the ventilator resources we have for COVID.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine just sent out an email discussing resource availability. 
I’m more concerned after reading this letter. The data is extremely outdated in many parts. The numbers are obtained from the American Hospital Association which were obtained via voluntary survey. Here’s an example: in 2009 we had, in the country, 62000 vents. We have almost 99000 old vents (I don’t know what this means nor where they are bc they mention that 23k are NIV, 33k are automatic resuscitators, and 8500 are CPAP units). The strategic national stockpile has 8900 ventilators ready for deployment. 

We’re looking at an estimated total of 200,000 ventilators in the country. 

They crunched the numbers based on the number of people who end up on the vent with COVID-19. We could reasonably expect 960,000 to require ventilatory support. I don’t know if ventilatory support means non-invasive ventilation + high flow nasal cannula + mechanical ventilation or just MV. I’ve read about avoiding NIV and HFNC as they aerosolize the virus but I need to learn more. 

It’s great to see that we have more critical care beds per capita than anywhere else in the world, but who is going to take care of those patients when there’s a limited supply of healthcare professionals who are trained to take care of the critically ill? 

I see this as us being in deep trouble and that all the lockdowns, travel bans, cancellations of everything being justified. My respect for this is growing as I become more educated. I was supposed to go to Greece on Monday. I was bummed out but I reminded myself that this is not about me. For additional resources on COVID-19, CLICK HERE.

Stay safe, everyone. 


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