New York’s largest hospital group probing if ventilators CAUSED coronavirus deaths – The Sun
NEW York's largest hospital group is probing if ventilators CAUSED coronavirus deaths.
The investigation comes as coronavirus cases in the nation's epicenter surpassed 369,000, with nearly 30,000 deaths.
Northwell, which runs Lenox Hill, Long Island Jewish and Staten Island University hospitals among others, is probing whether the machines may have contributed to an increase in deaths, The New York Post reported.
“One theory is if you put some patients on a ventilator, you might irritate the lungs more. That’s a theory we’re looking at,” Dr. Thomas McGinn, Northwell’s senior vice president and deputy physician-in-chief, told The Post.
Hospitals depended on to help severely ill patients.
The investigation will look at data on 12,000 patients treated for COVID-19 in New York.
Around 2,000 of the patients in the group were placed on ventilators – some for a few days, and others for a longer period.
Over two-thirds of the patients placed on the breathing machines in March and April died at Northwell facilities, The Post reported.
Numbers were similar for other hospitals.
McGinn added that doctors are evaluating if "other non-invasive" measures should have been used first.
"A big question is, can you delay putting patients on a ventilator or never put them on?” McGinn asked.
While the probe is evaluating the effects of the ventilators, McGinn emphasized the importance of the machine in saving lives.
“Vents don’t cause deaths. They save lives," he told The Post.
"If we didn’t put them on a vent they would all die."
As the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the US, governors and hospital workers begged for more ventilators, amid fears that a shortage of the machines would cause avoidable deaths.
At the end of March, President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, forcing General Motors and Ford to make ventilators "immediately."
Both New York Gov Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said they needed more ventilators, as they warned they would run out.
"At the current burn rate, we have about six days of ventilators in our stockpile," Cuomo said on April 1.
"The burn rate is troubling and six days of ventilators is troubling. But we have all these extraordinary measures."
Days later, the National Guard was deployed to move ventilators to hospitals where they were most needed.
"Am I seizing vents? No, I’m taking excess equipment to save lives," Cuomo said.
"It’s about doing the right thing to save lives."
The state also received around 1,000 ventilators from China in early April.
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