SitRep: Doctors Rethink Rush to Ventilate

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Special Report: As virus advances, doctors rethink rush to ventilate

by Silvia Aloisi, Deena Beasley, Gabriella Borter, Thomas Escritt, and Kate Kelland/Reuters:Berlin

The clinic is known for its reluctance to put patients with breathing difficulties on mechanical ventilators – the kind that involve tubes down the throat.

The 48-year-old physician, father of two and aspiring triathlete worried that an invasive ventilator would be harmful. But soon after entering the clinic, Bergmann said, he struggled to breathe even with an oxygen mask, and felt so sick the ventilator seemed inevitable.

Even so, his doctors never put him on a machine that would breathe for him. A week later, he was well enough to go home.

Bergmann’s case illustrates a shift on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, as doctors rethink when and how to use mechanical ventilators to treat severe sufferers of the disease – and in some cases whether to use them at all. While initially doctors packed intensive care units with intubated patients, now many are exploring other options.

Machines to help people breathe have become the major weapon for medics fighting COVID-19, which has so far killed more than 183,000 people. Read more of article:

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