American doctor says ventilators is destroying the lungs of coronavirus patients

An American doctor says ventilators are doing more harm than good and damaging the lungs of coronavirus patients based on how they're currently being used.

Medics around the world have been using the breathing machines, which pump the lungs to send oxygen into the bodies, as a vital tool to keep critically ill patients alive.

But Dr Cameron Kyle-Sidell, who was treating Covid-19 patients in New York, said high pressure is inadvertently causing harm and his beliefs have led him to step down from his position in an intensive care unit.

In a YouTube video, he says: 

I fear this misguided treatment will lead to a tremendous amount of harm in a very short time. Covid-19 is not a pneumonia and should not be treated as one.

He has said that Covid-19 lung disease "is not a pneumonia” but appears to be “some kind of viral-induced disease most resembling high altitude sickness".

He added: 

It is as if tens of thousands of my fellow New Yorkers are on a plane at 30,000 feet and the cabin pressure is slowly being let out. These patients are slowly being starved of oxygen... and while they look like patients absolutely on the brink of death, they do not look like patients dying of pneumonia.

The danger, he said, lies in the amount of pressure used to open the lungs, and he believes ventilators should be programmed "differently" for patients with coronavirus.

Dr Kyle-Sidell, a physician at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, said "we are putting breathing tubes in people and putting them on ventilators and dialing up the pressure to open up their lungs".

He added: 

I’ve talked to doctors all around the country and it is becoming increasingly clear that the pressure we’re providing may be hurting their lungs, that it is highly likely that the high pressures we’re using are damaging the lungs of the patients we are putting the breathing tubes in.

He later told WebMd’s Medscape website that his beliefs led him to “step down from my position in the ICU".

He said in that interview earlier this month: 

We ran into an impasse where I could not morally, in a patient-doctor relationship, I could not continue the current protocols which again, are the protocols at the top hospitals in the country. So now I’m back in the ER where we are setting up slightly different ventilation strategies.

Dr Kyle-Sidell said medics on the front line of the Covid-19 crisis should change their protocols for using ventilators.

He added: 

Covid-positive patients need oxygen. They do not need pressure. They will need ventilators - but they must be programmed differently.

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