WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Doctors-in-training at a Bronx hospital set up a ventilator too high which possibly led to the death of an elderly COVID-19 patient.
- The patient’s condition reportedly worsened and caused her heart to stop, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- The coronavirus outbreak has rendered hospitals overwhelmed with patients, forcing inexperienced front liners deployed despite lack of training.
According to a report, a coronavirus patient from New York has died after unskilled residents, who were newly-deployed COVID-19 frontliners, have mistakenly set up her ventilator too high.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the 60-year old patient was being taken care of by family medicine residents at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx since last month.
Reportedly, the residents lack training in operating the respiratory support system.
In the health care industry, medical residents are doctors-in-training who have finished schooling from medical universities but are still preparing for a specialty under the guidance of a senior physician.
Family medicine residents, on the other hand, are young doctors who are not yet ready to be deployed on intensive care units to work on severely ill patients, but since the pandemic made many hospitals overwhelmed, they were put in a position where they’re not yet fully ready.
The outlet reported that when the patient’s condition suddenly got worsened overnight, the residents set her up for a ventilator. However, they mistakenly boosted the capacity of the apparatus, which made the patient’s heart stop.
The newspaper further said that when a senior physician dashed to the patient, the young doctors acknowledged they are not yet trained to set up the ventilator properly.
The recent incident is just one of many recounted by the Wall Street Journal. Other reports also suggest that doctors training for other medical fields, including podiatrists, dentists, psychiatrists, and ophthalmologists, are also called to the front line since hospitals lack attending doctors for COVID-19 patients.
Other states are also facing the same problem. At Connecticut’s Yale-New Haven Hospital, anesthesiology practitioners were assigned as respiratory therapists, which requires another set of licensure with two years of training.
However, amidst the crisis, they were just called via Zoom and instructions sent via Google that says they can call an attending physician should they need help.
The paper also reports that a resident from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia confessed that they are worried that infected individuals might be treated as “guinea pigs.”
The Journal contacted hospital officials, and they commented that the coronavirus outbreak had presented an unexpected challenge to all medical workers, calling for response across the health industry.
A spokesman for the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center told the outlet that their mission is to save lives, and front liners are doing heroic acts amidst tremendous difficulty and pressure.
The spokesperson added that they are working hard to provide the equipment and support front liners needed.
The paper requested Montefiore Medical Center for a comment, but it didn’t respond yet.
Source: New York Post