There was a sense of foreboding outside room 527 that night at shift change. The unfortunate soul in that room had been in the hospital over a week with COVID-19 and had followed the pattern we had seen countless times. She had a severe case and was on a lot of oxygen but was holding her own without a lot of symptoms as long as she kept her oxygen on. Then, without warning, her blood work showed signs of rapidly increasing markers of inflammation and she started to look worse. She had escalating requirements for oxygen and was put on CPAP. The thing that was so scary to me as I started the shift that night was how she looked. She just looked so tired. She could not open her eyes or say even a few words. Her breathing was rapid and shallow and it didn’t appear she could last much longer. I adjusted her CPAP but over the next couple of hours, her oxygen levels started to drop. I had no choice but to put her on a ventilator.
The unspoken foreboding was palpable in the room. We all knew that when patients go on the ventilator things usually don’t turn out well. Most will not survive, many will have prolonged hospital courses with severe disabilities, few walk out of the hospital, and nobody is ever the same.Continue reading “Are the new quarantine guidelines a good idea?”