Lowcountry doctor speaks on the usage of ventilators on COVID-19 patients


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – COVID-19 case numbers have seen a decline recently throughout South Carolina.

This week, a recent report from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) showed that, as of right now, nearly 30% of the hospital’s COVID-19 patients are on ventilators.

Officials at Roper St. Francis Hospital say their numbers are lower with just under 10% of their patients being placed on a ventilator.

Dr. Mitchell Siegan, Vice President of Acute Care Operations at Roper St. Francis, explained that ventilators are used to help patients who are struggling with their breathing, but are only used on patients as a last resort.

“If you don’t use a ventilator appropriately, a ventilator could actually cause more harm than good to a patient….if you give a breath that’s too large, you give a breath that delivers too much pressure, too much oxygen, you could actually cause more damage to the patient’s lungs by resting the patients lungs while they’re on a ventilator.”

Dr. Mitchell Siegan, Vice President of Acute Care Operations, Roper St. Francis

Dr. Siegan said that a patient is only placed on a ventilator when he or she fails all non-evasive oxygen measures such as a nasal cannula or an oxygen face mask and are still unable to get enough oxygen into their body.

He said thanks to modern day research, doctors now have a better understanding on how to safely take someone off of a ventilator when they no longer need it.

He wanted to reassure the public that there was no shortage of ventilators at Roper Hospital during this pandemic and that they would not place two patients on one ventilator unless it was absolutely necessary.

Click here for the latest ventilator and COVID-19 information from MUSC.

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