‘Code Blue’: A Brooklyn I.C.U. Fights for Each Life in a Coronavirus Surge

The chief medical officer, Dr. Vasantha Kondamudi, later summed it up: Workers was quick, medical residents have been falling in poor health day-after-day, and the variety of sufferers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 was ballooning in practically each space of the hospital. But the disaster had not peaked.

Nurses and others from departments that had in the reduction of on companies, like elective surgical procedure and outpatient clinics, have been being skilled and redeployed. “You’re working utterly in another way,” mentioned Judy McLaughlin, senior vice chairman and chief nursing government. However even that wasn’t sufficient: The hospital had requested greater than 100 volunteer medical doctors and nurses from the town’s Medical Reserve Corps and was quickly working to vet them.

After the decision, Dr. Gasperino conferred within the hallway with the director of respiratory remedy. The hospital had 98 ventilators, many acquired in current days, together with small transportable units from the nationwide stockpile. Workers have been working simulations to follow how they may use every ventilator to deal with two sufferers, a troublesome and dangerous proposition. “We’re doing this as a result of the choice is loss of life,” Dr. Gasperino mentioned.

An alert sounded on the loudspeaker, interrupting the dialog: “Code blue, 6B. Code blue, 6B.”

The crucial care group was designed to reply to emergencies anyplace within the hospital. Though he was speculated to be on his approach house after an in a single day shift, Dr. Gasperino joined greater than than a dozen others pouring into the affected person’s room.

“Covid?” somebody requested.

“No, not Covid,” got here the reply.

Younger residents stood on both aspect of the person’s mattress and took turns doing chest compressions. Nurses ran out of the room and again in with provides. Dr. Gasperino threaded a catheter into a big vein to infuse remedy into the affected person’s physique. The person’s pulse returned.

At about the identical time, one of many pregnant sufferers was wheeled from the intensive care unit and into an working room for a cesarean part. She was in her early 30s, and her child was being delivered practically two months early in an effort to avoid wasting the mom’s life. Over the previous day, medical doctors had ordered two doses of steroid remedy to assist the toddler’s lungs mature.

Throughout rounds earlier that morning, a resident introduced the girl’s case. She had been placed on a ventilator and sedated the earlier night. Dr. Rosenberg cursed beneath his breath: This illness was merciless.

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