COVID 19 Recovery Patients Discharged from Navy Hospital Ship - USNS Comfort
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By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven
(Washington, D.C.) Small groups of patients suffering from COVID 19 have now been discharged from the Navy’s USNS Comfort near New York city after recovering from the virus, service officials tell Warrior.
“We’ve treated approximately 130 patients since we began this mission, and have discharged more than 60 of them….about half of the patients treated have been COVID 19 patients,” Lt. Marycate Walsh, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Second Fleet, told Warrior in a statement.
The recoveries are taking place alongside a continued influx of new patients from New York City area hospitals. Some of the arriving patients, Walsh added, are “high-acuity” ICU patients.
Treatment methods for COVID 19 can vary according to severity, yet there are a few general parameters followed by ICU doctors.. to include the use of a ventilator machine, some anti-viral medications and the use of a specialized technical device called ECMO - or Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, according to an April 6 essay in a respiratory medicine publication called “The Lancet.” The essay is called ‘Understanding pathways to death in patients with COVID-19.” [Article Here](https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(20%2930165-X/fulltext)
ECMO, the essay states, “can control gas exchange for weeks,” keeping patients alive who might otherwise die from oxygen deprivation. ECMO was used with great success during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to, in some cases, transport oxygen-deprived critical patients injured in war. They often traveled on what the U.S. military services call Critical Care Air Transport, or CCAT aircraft configurations, which essentially functioned as a mini-flying hospital. ECMO, military doctors explained, was used during these flights to keep patients breathing. Many were transported from Iraq to Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany. The ECMO procedures were of critical value during the height of the wars in Iraq, given that many soldiers suffered lung injuries due to smoke inhalation from IED blasts. The procedure is now proving critical in saving lives of COVID 19-afflicted patients, a senior ICU doctor now treating patients in the Northern Virginia area told Warrior.
While, as the Lancet essay states, “respiratory failure is obviously the main cause” of death with COVID 19 patients, some patients can die from “shock and multiple organ failure” caused by the virus. Despite these factors, experts concede that many nuances particular to COVID 19 are not yet fully understood. “The real course of the disease is not yet well described.”
For this reason, the successful recovery of some of the most severe COVID 19 cases has emerged from patients hanging delicately and precariously upon the at times thin boundary between life and death..has been received with great enthusiasm.
Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics& Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.