Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | Cold/Flu | ventilators | hospitals | pandemic | emergency

Johns Hopkins: Hospitals Don't Have Enough Ventilators

Ventilator equipment on store display
Ventilator equipment on store display (Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 13 March 2020 10:51 PM

American hospitals might not be prepared for an influx of severely ill coronavirus patients who need a ventilator to breathe, a report has warned.

Respiratory failure can be a severe side effect of COVID-19, but a February report suggests the current ventilator supply might not go far enough.

The report from the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins determined the United States has about 160,000 ventilators ready for use in hospitals, with another 8,900 held in a national reserve.

"The need for ventilation services during a severe pandemic could quickly overwhelm these day-today operational capabilities," the report warned. "During a severe influenza pandemic, it has been projected that the demand for assisted ventilation in hospitals could increase by 25% or more."

The report added, along with more ventilators, there would also be the urgent need for more respiratory therapists.

"Using mathematical models, [one] study found that the limiting factor during a pandemic-level crisis would be the number of respiratory therapists rather than ventilators," the report stated.

The crisis of intensive care is already unfolding in hard-hit Italy, the current epicenter of the pandemic.

"Look what's happening in Italy right now. That's the cautionary tale," Dr. Aaron Carroll, a pediatrician and researcher who studies the healthcare system, said in a tweet earlier this week.

About 1 million Americans might need a ventilator throughout the course of the outbreak, according to projections from James Lawler, an infectious diseases specialist and public health expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Business Insider reported.

Lawler's projections did not include a time frame, and BI noted not all of those people might need a ventilator at the same time.

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American hospitals might not be prepared for an influx of severely ill coronavirus patients who need a ventilator to breathe, a report has warned.
ventilators, hospitals, pandemic, emergency, response
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2020-51-13
Friday, 13 March 2020 10:51 PM
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