Over 50 percent of people who are put on mechanical ventilation don’t survive. But for many, there is another option. Dr. Gutierrez explains.
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Dr. Eddy Gutierrez is a critical care specialist at Baptist Medical Center in Florida who joins the show to share his firsthand experience in treating COVID-19 patients, and the benefits of replacing mechanical ventilation with high-flow nasal cannulas.
When COVID-19 first hit, Dr. Gutierrez and his colleagues were shocked by the high level of mortality and difficulty caring for those with the virus—especially since they always prioritized staying on the cutting edge of medicine and medical technology.
Initially, the conventional treatment for COVID-19 was to deliver oxygen to patients by putting them on mechanical ventilators. Dr. Gutierrez says it quickly became clear that there weren’t going to be enough ventilators, which led to the use of a life-saving technology called a high-flow nasal cannula.
And it really is life-saving, considering that the mortality rate of those who need to be intubated and put on a mechanical ventilator is so high, and the complications so numerous.
The high-flow nasal cannula is placed over the face of the patent and delivers a much higher flow of oxygen to the patient than conventional cannulas, but at the same time allows the patient to continue eating, communicating with loved ones on the phone or video chat, and even walking around in their hospital rooms.
Someone who is on a ventilator, in contrast, is unable to move, eat, or even breathe on their own, and may experience deadly consequences.
Find Dr. Gutierrez on Twitter and Instagram @eddyjoemd and check out his podcast, Saving Lives.
Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/30PvU9C