Henry Mayo explains importance of ventilators, says it has adequate supply

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
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Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital officials said Tuesday that they remain “in pretty good shape” as it pertains to their supply of personal protective equipment and ventilators, but that they are also preparing for the COVID-19 peak.

Over the weekend, national news outlets throughout the country heavily discussed the need for more personal protective equipment, or PPE, and ventilators in the nation’s largest urban-center hospitals.

Specifically speaking, SARS-COV-2 can trigger a potentially deadly respiratory disease called COVID-19, an illness that attacks the lungs and causes shortness of breath, a fever and a deep dry cough, and can quickly become life-threatening.

“The patients (infected with COVID-19) become so short of breath, they have a hard time oxygenating their lungs,” said Larry Kidd, Henry Mayo’s chief clinical officer. “So what the ventilator is doing is acting as the support to their lungs to get an appropriate amount of oxygen exchange into the lung, which we could control.”

“And then the other is dependent on the patient’s status, we can control the rate of respiration so you might breathe a certain amount of times a minute, these patients we might need to have them breathe more than that, faster than that,” said Kidd. “So we’re essentially breathing for them, and providing the right amount of oxygen to support the lungs.”

Both Kidd and Patrick Moody, a spokesman for Henry Mayo, said on Tuesday the numbers are currently hard to predict for how many people will need ventilators whenever the pandemic decides to peak.

But Kidd said that, unlike places like New York where the need for respirators jumped by 40-50% of the standard level in only a short time, Henry Mayo has enough ventilators to treat up to double their current patient load.

“We’d still be in good shape,” said Kidd, in reference to a scenario in which the Henry Mayo COVID-19 hospitalized patient population doubled. “And then of course we’re always trying to wean patients off a ventilator.”

Despite having adequate levels, however, Kidd said the hospital will be looking at national efforts, such as the ones being taken by the automotive industry, to produce more ventilators in a timely manner.

“If that takes off as it’s anticipated, the country as a whole should start to look a lot better,” said Kidd.

In terms of masks and PPE gear, Kidd had a similarly optimistic yet cautious tone, saying that donations from the local community have helped them boost their rainy day supplies should the hospital need backups during the eventual peak.

“We’re looking pretty good right now, but I say that with caution,” said Kidd. “We look every day to see how things look for the next few days ahead of us, the next few weeks.”

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