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Last updateFri, 18 Sep 2020 11am

Locals mull advice to avoid ventilators

“Doctors have learned some tips over the past two months of treating Covid,” said a U.S. physician retired at lakeside. “I thought he made some good suggestions.”


She was referring to a short, persuasive video in which journalist Christiane Amanpour interviews Dr. Richard Levitan, a U.S. emergency medicine and airways specialist, who rushed from his home in New Hampshire in March to volunteer for coronavirus work at Bellevue Hospital in New York, where he trained decades ago.

One of the principal takeaways was Levitan’s plea to change standard treatment with ventilators, initiated after a patient suffers shortness of breath or blue lips and fingers, to earlier detection of low blood oxygen levels and treatment with nasal oxygen.

“They are still giving the same old advice here – don’t go to the hospital until you’re very short of breath,” said a 77-year-old retired American residing in Guadalajara, who has been diligently isolating himself since the start of the emergency. “I believe Dr. Levitan is saying that advice is all wrong, and you should go on oxygen as soon as your oxygen saturation levels start to fall. I’ve been monitoring my levels daily since I had heart surgery. I use a pulse oximeter that you put on your fingertip.”

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