Number of coronavirus patients on ventilators doubles at NYC hospital

A Manhattan hospital saw the number of its coronavirus patients on ventilators more than double in the past three days — and is relying on volunteer physicians to staff newly created intensive care units, its chief surgeon said Thursday.

In a memo posted on Twitter, Dr. Craig Smith also said that the pace at which patients need ventilators “exceeds the overall increase in new cases” at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in Upper Manhattan.

“We have not exhausted our existing supply of ventilators, but if we keep doubling every three days, we might,” Smith wrote.

“This development has placed sudden pressure on ICU capacity.”

To deal with the surge of desperately sick people, operating rooms “have been converted to ICUs, and an entire 36-bed floor (7GN) is now fully renovated for conversion to ICU space,” he said.

On Wednesday, Smith said, the hospital asked doctors to volunteer in the new units.

“Within a few hours 20 surgeons had volunteered,” he wrote.

“Once again, the selflessness demonstrated by everyone in the Surgery family inspires me.”

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