Critical care doctors discuss the possibility of sharing ventilators with multiple patients

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The state’s concern over ventilators is extremely high. State leaders and medical professionals worry what will happen if we don’t get enough in time.

Dr. Joseph Kanter with the State Department of Health says if the increase of patients continue and the additional equipment doesn’t get here, they’re estimating it could be next week when we outstretch the capacity of ventilators.

Right now, Dr. Kanter says there are about 500 to 600 ventilators in New Orleans area. He says we need two to three times that amount.

Critical care doctors are right now discussing the possibility of patients sharing a ventilator. While it’s just being discussed, Dr. Kanter says doing that would be extremely problematic.

"You’re in uncharted territory and it’s not what this machine was designed for. Patients take very specific settings on a ventilator and you’re dialing up controls that are specific in a number of categories. If you are sharing patients on a ventilator, you would have to pick one setting and have everyone on the same setting. It would be like I was sick and you were sick and the doctor said I’m going to split the difference and treat you the same, “ says Joseph Kanter, M.D.

Dr. Kanter says COVID19 patiens are so sick, some of them require minute by minute changes to the ventilators. The adjustments, he says, to the ventilators are constantly changing making it extremely difficult to share between patients.

With the ventilator concern, he says getting more is really key. He says it’s the reason the Governor is in constant talks with the White House about getting the resources we need.

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