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Some COVID patients around the world are refusing ventilators

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Ventilators are a go-to way doctors treat severe cases of COVID-19, but more reports of COVID patients refusing them are surfacing around the world.

There were no reports of COVID-19 patients refusing ventilators in Alabama at the time this article was written. A state health leader said patients had the right to refuse treatments, but it’s something that should be carefully thought through.

COVID-19 can attack the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and when it gets severe, physicians turn to ventilators, a machine that takes over breathing for the patient.

There have been conflicting medical reports on the death rates of intubated COVID patients, some as high as 80%, others about 17%. Nearly all the patients who died were older and had other chronic health issues.

Deputy state health officer, Dr. Karen Landers, said it’s a therapy physicians use only if necessary.

“This is not a treatment modality that physicians recommend lightly. So, again, keep in mind that if you’re to the point to require ventilatory support, then your chance of surviving, your chance of having a good outcome, it’s fairly low,” Landers explained.

Dr. Landers said it’s just another reason to get vaccinated.

“Our information on vaccine efficacy also includes that far fewer people who had been vaccinated are either in the ICU or have to be ventilated,” Landers said.

According to the CDC, your chances of staying out of the hospital with an mRNA vaccine is more than 90%; with the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, it’s about 85%.

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