coronavirus pandemic

Number of COVID-19 Patients Recovering at Parkland Reassuring

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Doctors at Parkland Memorial Hospital remain cautiously optimistic as COVID-19 patients needing ventilators continue to have positive outcomes.

Dr. Mathew Leveno, the medical director for the intensive care unit and newly tactical care unit said they're estimating that about three out of every four patients on a ventilator are expected to recover.

"I want to remain positive and I want to be optimistic and keep moving forward, but the reality is, until every last patient has been discharged from the hospital I'm hesitant to, to be too celebratory," Leveno said.

As of Thursday evening, so far 49 patients have needed a ventilator.

Ten of those patients have died.

Seventeen remain on a ventilator, but 22 patients have come off ventilators and some have gone home.

"I certainly don't want to give people the impression elsewhere that, we're satisfied because we have lost some people along the way and that was hard for everyone, but, compared to what we were anticipating, we feel fortunate," Leveno said.

He said he believes their Tactical Care Unit, which they set up in March, is helping them have success with treating patients.

In March, the hospital turned the operating space into a negative pressure room which can house about 116 COVID-19 patients.

"It allowed us to bring all of these patients into one location and therefore it made it possible for us, the doctors and the nurses, all the care team to have constant access to these patients," Leveno explained.

Traditionally, doctors would have to tend to patients in separate rooms which means doctors and nurses would have to constantly change personal protective equipment and worry about cross-contamination.

Inside the TCU, Leveno said there's one way in and one way out. There's staff to help doctors and nurses apply their protective gear on properly and take them off.

He said it has helped them conserve personal protective equipment.

"Right now I can go in, you use my same mask all day long. I use my same face shield all day long, whereas previously, you know, I was having to change those every time I went in and out of rooms," Leveno said.

He credits the hospital's leadership and early decision to convert this area specifically for COVID-19 patients, a measure he believes has helped.

"That's a luxury that we have at Parkland, because of the wonderful hospital that we have," said Leveno.

The new challenge is keeping up the moral as the marathon continues.

"It's transitioning kind of into a longer haul at this point and some of that adrenaline, is starting to wear off for people and I want to keep them motivated and keep their spirits up and let them know that we just need to keep pushing," Leveno said.

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