MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Many hospitals in parts of the country are worried about having enough ventilators. But while they’re very important, having them does not mean a sick patient’s problems are over.
“Those patients will die without a ventilator. You absolutely need the ventilator so that some degree of oxygen keeps going in their bloodstream,” said Dr. Sanjay Mukhopadhyay, the director of pulmonary pathology at Cleveland Clinic.
Mukhopadhyay says, unfortunately, a breathing tube cannot save everyone.
“They will not make it if their disease is very severe and their lungs have been damaged,” he told CBS4’s Ty Russell.
Companies across the nation are making ventilators, at least to help keep as many people with severe coronavirus cases breathing.
He says a lung should feel fluffy, like cotton candy. In some severe cases, the lungs are harder, similar to a wet sponge.
“Severe lung damage are staying for several days or more than a week on the ventilator,” he said.
The doctor said their oxygen levels are monitored and blood tests are taken. But if things get worse, that’s when a relative makes a tough decision.
He said it’s possible for some to recover after a ventilator. But in that group, there are still many who won’t be able to go back to their old life.
“Some proportion of those patients will have long-term effects in their lungs, psychological effect and other kinds of health problems,” Mukhopadhyay said.
Miami-Dade has roughly 6,500 ventilators with about 4,500 available. As for Broward, the county has 464 ventilators with 269 available.
It’s why doctors and researchers are hard at work looking for other ways to treat coronavirus patients.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has joined President Donald Trump in promoting an anti-malaria drug to help the really sick.
Hydroxychloroquine has divided the medical community since it’s still unclear if it’s successful against the virus.
During a COVID-19 briefing, the governor played a video of a patient in Broward thanking doctors for giving him the drug.
“We don’t want to assume that’s going to help everybody. I think we need to continue with aggressive efforts to do an itemized control test which is being done,” Dr. Sunil Kumar with Broward Health said.
Broward doctors are also trying Nitric Oxide which relaxes blood vessels.
The president of a biomedical company was interviewed in CBS Evening News. He said his company is working on something faster than a vaccine.
“We and others have the technology that will allow us to make these exact same antibodies outside of the body and then purify them and then give them back to people and it’s as if these people have been vaccinated,” Dr. George Yancopoulos with Regeneron said.
Testing may be done in two months.
“By the end of the summer, we can be treating hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people,” he said.
Kevzara, which treats rheumatoid arthritis is Currently being tested as well.