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Children apologize to their dying seniors as LA County rolls

As hospitals across California this week supported an increase in COVID-19 patients infected during Christmas, officials shared painful stories of dying moments with their families.

“One of the more heartbreaking conversations our healthcare professionals share is about these last words when children apologize to their parents and grandparents for bringing COVID into their homes to make them sick. And these apologies are just some of the last words loved ones will ever hear when they die alone, ”said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis. “Stay at home for your loved ones. Take care of yourself. Keep your loved ones alive. ”

Officials believe the current increase was driven in part by family reunions around Thanksgiving and Christmas that allowed younger people who were more likely to be out and about to spread COVID-1

9 to their older ones, who otherwise tended to to stay at home.

“The situation is more serious than ever, which is why I am sharing some stories from our local hospitals,” Solis said. “To die of COVID in the hospital means to die alone. Visitors are not allowed in hospitals for their own safety. Families share their final goodbye on tablets and mobile phones. ”

Dr. Mark Lepore, an intensive care physician at Ventura County Medical Center, said last week that too many families are bringing their seriously ill loved ones to the hospital too late.

“They’re worried that when they go, they won’t come out alive,” Lepore said.

Lepore said he has been forced to have hard conversations with critically ill patients when they come in and explain treatment they may receive to keep them alive, such as tilting them on their stomachs to make it easier to breathe and administer oxygen under pressure via a mask when their oxygen levels in the blood drop too low.

But if that doesn’t work, Lepore said he has asked patients if they would like to be placed in a ventilator – which involves inserting a tube into their trachea attached to a machine to help them breathe and be anesthetized – or if they would rather be made comfortable when they die.

The chance of surviving COVID-19 when a patient is placed in a ventilator is between 20% and 60%. The discussion is fierce, Lepore said. “And if it gets to the point that after you put on a respirator that your heart should stop, we would not perform CPR on you because it would not work – because the disease will have taken hold,” Lepore said , that he tells patients.

Lepore said it was imperative that people seek medical attention if they were short of breath. “Even though hospitals are full, you need to seek care or call your doctor,” he said. People can buy a device called a pulse oximeter to monitor their oxygen levels in the blood, and if the level is less than 90%, that means you have to call the emergency room, Lepore said.

“The longer you wait for this disease, the less chance we have of giving you some of the therapies that can help you get through this,” he added.

A doctor at a public hospital in Los Angeles County said families who cannot be there for their dying loved ones are being destroyed.

Working at the ICU, where there are not many caregivers who can do to rescue extremely ill patients, the doctor said he has heard “families moan on the phone in pain that their loved one is dying. … The way most people leave is dying. We spend our days calling families to tell them that their loved one has exhausted all medical treatment and will walk away despite our best efforts.

Solis noted that more than 200 people in LA County died of COVID-19 daily, and hospitals were on the verge of having to rationize care, with physicians choosing which patients to receive and which not.

Due to staffing problems, a privately run hospital in LA County declared an internal disaster on Monday, meaning the hospital is so overwhelmed that the emergency room is closed to all incoming ambulances, according to LA County Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly.

Coronavirus is so prevalent that at least one in five people being tested for the virus, or about 15,000 a day, test positive throughout Southern California.

LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Monday begged the public to stay home as much as possible. When she left home to access essential services, she urged people to bring disinfectant wipes so they can wipe down their phones, keys, workstations and door handles – anything they touch that others have touched.

Ferrer also issued a new recommendation that people who are going out – and living in a household with an elderly person or someone with underlying medical conditions – start wearing masks at home to protect them.

“Because there is so much spread, we also recommend that people keep their face on while inside the home,” Ferrer said. For anyone who works outside or is the person doing the most important errands in the family, wearing a mask at home will “just add a layer of protection as we get through the wave.”

People should also make sure that frequently affected surfaces are cleaned, utensils are not shared, and if possible, bedrooms and bathrooms are not shared with the most vulnerable.

“It is time to be extremely careful and very careful. We can not ease our efforts yet – not now and not in the next few weeks. Every minute, 10 people in LA County test average positive for COVID-19, ”Ferrer said.

Ferrer reiterated that people who are infected can transmit the virus to others for two days or more before they even show symptoms. At least 10% to 12% of people infected with the virus are hospitalized, and more than 1% of people diagnosed with the virus end up dying, Ferrer said.

“The detrimental impact on our families and our local hospitals from this increase is the worst disaster our county has experienced in decades,” Ferrer said.

Ferrer said officials have done much in recent months to try to control the virus – banning gatherings, inspecting workplaces, issuing fines. “But it has been inadequate because the biggest single factor in all of this is getting individuals to take appropriate steps,” Ferrer said. “We need to make sure everyone survives to benefit from the vaccine.”

“It’s not time to meet friends at home to watch the game. It’s not time to go for a walk without your face. All that is required is a mistake, and soon five, 10 or 20 others will be infected, ”Ferrer said. “The most important way to stop it in its tracks is to avoid interacting with others and always protect ourselves.”

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