Hospitals across the U.S. battling the coronavirus have been consistently reporting shortages of personal protective gear, ventilators and drugs used to help patients with pain management. But medical professionals in the state that’s become the front line in America’s fight against COVID-19 say they’re concerned about the flow of oxygen itself to patients.
“The hospital was close to running out of oxygen,” said an emergency room doctor at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, which has become known as the epicenter of the outbreak in the state. “With the number of patients we have, we are using up resources at an unusual rate.”
Across the city in Brooklyn, Dr. Dorian Alexander at Brookdale Hospital said, “We burn through oxygen everyday.”
“We’re consuming oxygen faster than we’ve ever consumed oxygen in hospitals before,” said Dr. Peter Papadakos, the director of critical care medicine and professor of anesthesiology, surgery and neurosurgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center.