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'It hurts': Health workers on battling Brazil's worst Covid-19 wave yet

April 1, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.4%. 1 min read.

SANTO ANDRE, BRAZIL - MARCH 11: Medical staff members transport a patient on a stretcher at the Pedro Dell???Antonia Sports Complex field hospital as coronavirus cases soar on March 11, 2021 in Santo Andre, Brazil. The state of Sao Paulo has reached over 80% occupancy in intensive care units and has declared a red alert as the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated in Brazil in recent weeks. State Health Minister Jean Gorinchteyn announced that they are already recruiting health professionals for reinforcement and working in 140 extra ICUs to prevent the collapse of the health system. 38 patients with COVID-19 have already died on the waiting list for ICU's beds in the state in the first ten days of March. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

One nurse told CNN that he had to take an elderly Covid-19 patient off a ventilator, knowing that it could be a death sentence. A paramedic recounted the day an entire unit's oxygen supply malfunctioned, threatening to suffocate intubated patients.

One nurse in São Paulo told CNN that he had to assist in removing one elderly Covid-19 patient from a ventilator -- knowing that it could be a death sentence -- because there weren't enough to go around.

A paramedic in the same city recounted the day an entire intensive care unit's oxygen supply suddenly malfunctioned, threatening to suffocate intubated Covid-19 patients as he raced to pump air into their lungs.

There was an oxygen supply but it wasn't reaching the patients and so there was this scramble to try and get oxygen from other places.

We returned with 8 more cylinders of oxygen and it was a crazy rush to install those and try and move patients out.

"Before we could get the oxygen turned on the staff had started to ventilate the patients manually, by hand.

This week there were 14 patients inside and 10 of them were intubated.

And then there are other patients in the corridors waiting for beds.

"There was an episode that we had to decide between two people: We had an intubated patient who had already been in the unit for 10 days with a bad prognosis, without a visible chance to get better and also had a younger patient who was otherwise healthy with no comorbidities.

So the medical director had to choose to extubate this older patient in order to intubate the younger one.

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