Do you think you could do a post about what you see as a medical person and covid. We hear from the govt and CDC we are all going to die and the latest variant will wipe out the world so we should hide and take the next 27 booster shots . We dont get to hear that much from someone like us who who skips the bullshit. But what are you seeing? Are you see large numbers of cases, how severe are the cases, what type of people are coming in? The healthy, the old and weak, the immune compromised? Is the large influx of illegals the cause of the number to rise? The big question would probably be who is getting covid more now, the vaxxed or unvaxxed. there seems to be more and more doctors studies saying the vaxxed are getting covid more now, whats the truth?. Whats you opinion and advice on this? I think a lots of your readers would like to hear this also.
OK. My ED sees between 200 and 300 patients per day. We are seeing about 50 to 60 people who have respiratory complaints each day. The majority of them wind up with cardiac, emphysema, COPD, and other infections like pneumonia and the flu. About 15-25 of those 50-60 wind up being diagnosed with COVID. How does that happen? The following is going to be a bit heavy in technical details, but I will simplify it as much as I can, so that it is more understandable.
We are a protocol driven hospital. Under the law, nurses can’t do anything that they aren’t ordered to do by a doctor. So hospitals using protocols have a set of SOPs that nurses enter into a patient’s chart, and a doctor (or other provider) signs off on it. These protocols can be entered by the nurse that is using their professional judgement, or they can be initiated by the nurse after being alerted by our computerized charting system generating a “best practice advisory.”
Hospitals have something called SIRS criteria, as pretty much every hospital in the nation does. When a patient arrives in the ED, they are initially triaged. The computer (and nurse) looks for the following:
- Body temperature over 38 or under 36 degrees Celsius.
- Heart rate greater than 90 beats/minute
- Respiratory rate greater than 20 breaths/minute
- partial pressure of CO2 (either end tidal or arterial blood gas) less than 32 mmHg
- Leukocyte >12000 or <4000 per microliter
- >10% immature forms or bands
If the patient has two or more of the above, the nurse will enter a standardized set of orders for tests. Those tests include tests for lactic acid, a CBC, CMP, and if appropriate, COVID/Flu tests, urinalysis, and other tests. If the nurse doesn’t enter those orders, the computer will alert them that it is best practice to do so. If the nurse STILL doesn’t do so, the computer requires them to enter a note in the patient’s chart explaining why they didn’t. The system is designed to do this so as to prevent human error from missing something important. Once those orders are entered, a e-note is sent to the provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) who is in charge of that patient, and they will sign off on those orders. It’s a quick, efficient system that is designed to be safest for the patient.
If any of those tests or a physical exam shows that an infection is also present, the patient is said to be positive for Sepsis criteria. This activates an entire other process. Every attempt is made to identify the particular pathogen involved, but the important thing is to start aggressive treatment at that point, before the patient goes into septic shock. So they get IV fluids and probably antibiotics while we are waiting for the results of testing. Time is of the essence here.
If a patient tests positive for Flu A or B, or COVID, they follow a different path. They don’t get antibiotics. Flu patients get flu drugs like Tamiflu. We check COVID patients to see if their blood is clotting normally (INR, PTT, and other similar tests), they get a chest Xray, and we monitor their oxygen saturation. They get some IV fluids, and oxygen (if indicated) and that’s it.
Does this sound like familiar advice? For decades, we have known that viral respiratory illnesses need fluids and rest. Remember that water is nature’s expectorant. It thins out respiratory secretions so that they are thinned enough to be easy to cough out. If you are sick enough to meet SIRS criteria, you likely haven’t been drinking enough water, so we give you a liter or so of either Normal Saline (0.9% NaCl in water) or Lactated Ringers solution. The vast majority of them get sent home after being monitored for a couple of hours. Occasionally, one will get admitted, maybe one or two a day.
The demographics haven’t changed a whole lot. The ones who are the sickest have underlying conditions like cancer, advanced cases of diabetes, COPD, or other inflammatory or respiratory diseases. My hospital doesn’t see a whole lot of illegals, so I can’t comment there. COVID vaccine status doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other. I really don’t think that the vaccine does anything. That’s why I got the first series back in the spring of ’21, but haven’t gotten anything since. (I had COVID twice just a couple of months after I got vaccinated. I haven’t worn a mask since, yet I have been exposed to COVID at least once every working day, and haven’t gotten shit.)
I haven’t seen a COVID death in at least six months. We admit a few, but the VAST majority are treated and released. I will say that we are getting more cases lately, but I don’t see the cases we are getting now being as severe as the ones from 2020. I think that this is because of a few things:
- We know how to treat COVID now. That wasn’t true three years ago.
- COVID already killed off the weakest and sickest.
- The original strain of COVID was the most virulent, IMO. These new variants are not as deadly as the first one.
We have had a lot of staff testing positive for COVID. We had 15 call ins just in the ED staff on the last day that I worked. It seems to be going around and is more contagious than before, but it seems to be no worse than the flu. I have been beefing up my immune system in the meantime by taking vitamins (especially C, D, and E), calcium, and zinc, trying to be a bit proactive.
Understand that this is the experience of one nurse in one hospital, and we all know that anecdotes are not data.