Posted April 8, 2020
KMA is sharing the first-person accounts of physicians from across the state as they prepare for and battle the COVID-19 pandemic. These stories will also be published at kyma.org/COVID-19. If you are interested in submitting an account, please email Emily Schott, email@example.com.
As with others across the state, we have ramped up preparations for increasing numbers of patients with respiratory failure. The hospital system has been very supportive, creating COVID-19 treatment wards and intensive care units. As patients enter the system with suspected COVID-19 infection they are cohorted in negative pressure rooms located on designated floors. One hospital of four in our system has been converted with negative pressure isolation rooms to handle the load. Our ICU admissions and ventilator use is increasing daily with several deaths due to ARDS associated COVID-19 infection. We have doubled our ventilator capacity by including operating room equipment and advanced bilevel devices via ett for non-COVID-19 patients.
Our group of 11 pulmonary critical care physicians and four nurse practitioners have created a schedule to redeploy wherever there is a need. We have purposely built in off time to allow decompression. All of the outpatient work via video or telephone protocols. Our hope is that the influx of new patients will be spread out and plateaued so our system can handle the volume. Our paramount concern is having staff exposed, quarantined, or infected. Several physicians and dozens or staff are now off work thus reducing the systems total capacity.
The interaction with colleagues several weeks ahead of us in Italy, New York, Detroit, and Seattle has been invaluable. The AMA resources have been up to the minute whether it be medical or practice management. We have active almost hourly exchanges amongst our group with the latest data, updates, tips and tricks. Communication and support is key to weathering this pandemic over the next few months. We are now having 1-2x/week Webex meeting amongst 150+ colleagues in the greater Cincinnati area. I am truly impressed by the regional organization and response to this medical emergency.