New York City critical care physician Dr. Sotirios Kassapidis told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that hospitals there are being stretched thin trying to keep up with the number of coronavirus patients.
“The system has bent, but we’re surviving,” Kassapidis said dejectedly on Friday’s episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, according to Fox. “The patients keep coming in in waves. We lose a lot, there’s a high mortality [rate]. I compare it to the big, the blitzkrieg. You get that little calm and then the other wave comes in. We have a lot of people on ventilators.”
Kassapidis said most of the people coming into his hospital are positive for the virus, but pointed out that the others coming in “are sick, too. And you don’t want anybody falling through the cracks,” he added.
The doctor is in
Asked by Carlson whether ventilators are important for patients suffering from COVID-19, Kassapidis said the machines are “the last resort” when patients have breathing problems related to the virus, but that many patients are still “decompensating” even after being put on the ventilators.
“The difficulty with the virus is we have multiple ways of oxygenating people. Regular oxygen, 100% face masks by BIPAP or C-PAP, high-flow oxygen, and the last resort is a ventilator,” Kassapidis said, according to Fox. He went on:
What we’ve noticed is that the majority of the patients will get a little bit better and then they’ll decompensate. And when they decompensate, they decompensate rapidly. And it’s at that point that they go on the ventilators. A lot of the patients, even though they’re on the ventilators, will decompensate further.
The “majority” of patients put on ventilators “don’t survive,” Kassapidis added.
The doctor told Carlson that the victims he’s seen have been between the ages of 30 and 80 years old, some with “no underlying conditions.”
“We’ve had a couple of successes where we’ve been able to exorbate patients and they’ve improved, but for the majority of the part we’re losing a lot of our patients,” Kassapidis said, according to Fox.
New York braces for impact
In recent days, New York City has been building field hospitals and gathering supplies to prepare for an onslaught of severe coronavirus cases, Army Times reported. Thousands of ventilators have been stockpiled, but the state’s governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, has still fretted that there won’t be enough for the need over the coming weeks.
The average COVID-19 patient is on a ventilator for one to two weeks, according to NBC News, so Cuomo could be right that the need will grow much more before the outbreak finally abates.
Right now, New York has about 15,500 ventilators in hand or on the way, according to a local NBC affiliate, and several thousand more anesthesia-style ventilators that can be converted for use with coronavirus patients.
Over the last few days, a few heavily taxed hospitals have reported sharing one ventilator between two patients, which can work but is not considered ideal by most experts, according to The New York Times.