Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the hospitals in the state of New York can now make better use of its scarce hospital supplies by attempting to save two coronavirus patients at the same time with the help of ventilator splitting.
Ventilator sharing could prove to be a huge help for the hospitals, as the number of virus-related cases continues to surge in contradiction to the scarcity of ventilators. The New York State Department of Health approved the split-ventilation protocol shared by the New York- Presbyterian Hospital.
Cuomo said that although the ventilator splitting technique was not ideal but it was something that was workable given the increasing need for as many as 30,000 ventilators in coming weeks.
In a joint statement issued by several medical associations, the clinicians have called the move controversial as sharing mechanical ventilators cannot be done safely with the current equipment. The state of New York makes use of around 5,000-6,000 ventilators that help COVID-19 patients to breathe, as many of them are not able to do so on their own due to the ailment, ABC News reported.
The state has further purchased 7,000 additional ventilators and received another 400 machines from the federal government.
“Why such a demand? It is a respiratory illness for a large number of people. So they all need ventilators. Non-COVID patients are normally on ventilators for three to four days. COVID patients are on ventilators for 11 to 21 days. You don’t have the same turnaround,” Cuomo said on Thursday.
The ventilator sharing technique that is currently approved for the state could very well be used all over the country, given the shortage of thousands of ventilators.
The medical associations, in the statement, warned Cuomo regarding the dangers of ventilator-splitting and instead advised ventilator triage.
“In accordance with the exceedingly difficult, but not uncommon, triage decisions often made in medical crises, it is better to purpose the ventilator to the patient most likely to benefit than fail to prevent, or even cause, the demise of multiple patients,” their statement read.