The anaesthesiology specialization lasts six years, without it the doctor cannot operate a ventilator. It cannot be learned in a few days


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There are more and more people infected with the coronavirus in Poland. The situation becomes dramatic as there may soon be no doctors left to service life-saving respirators. The course is absolutely not enough.

  1. During one training it is impossible to learn how to intub a patient and connect him to a breathing machine. Intubation is a very unpleasant procedure for an awake person, so you need to put him to sleep, give muscle relaxants
  2. Anesthesiology specialization is done – after completing medical studies – for 6 years. Before obtaining the “specki”, the young doctor has no right to anesthesia the patient or to operate the ventilator
  3. Anesthesiologist: I have been working in the profession for 30 years and I have seen young anesthesiologists whose hands were shaking while intubating the patient, and their teeth were chattering. Training on phantoms will never be the same as contact with a living human being
  4. For more up-to-date information on the coronavirus, please visit the TvoiLokony home page

The Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday 10 new cases of COVID-040 infections, a new record and the first crossing of the 19 mark. infected with coronavirus. Another record was set on Thursday – 10 cases.

In the second wave of the pandemic, the number of patients increases rapidly, and in the case of the most severely ill patients, it is necessary to connect them to respirators.

At the beginning of October, 300 of these devices were occupied, and 508 in the middle of the month. Currently, more than 800 of the most seriously ill patients absolutely need to be connected to this specialized respiratory device.

Officials informed that we have a total of 1200 respirators available in Poland. However, it is not their number that is the biggest problem today, but too few anesthesiologists who are able to operate this equipment.

This is a huge problem, because we have 6872 doctors of this specialization in the country, 1266 of whom are over 65 years of age.

The fact that the situation is alarming is evidenced by the letter from Waldemar Wierzba, director of the Warsaw Ministry of Interior and Administration hospital, to the heads of clinics, quoted by Rzeczpospolita.

His words leaked to the network: “I am asking for volunteers to learn the basic use of respirators”.

Meanwhile, anesthetists are alarming that the operation of this equipment absolutely cannot be learned in a few days.

– Anesthesiology specialization is done in Poland for 6 years. Before this time expires, a young doctor who wants to work as a specialist in this field in the future is not allowed to perform any procedure on his own. Including anesthetize and operate a respirator. – explains an experienced anesthesiologist at the Szczecin hospital and asks for anonymity. – It is a machine that costs over PLN 100 and not only supports breathing, but also saves the life of a seriously ill patient. I cannot imagine that specialist knowledge in this field could be acquired during one course. In such a short time, at best you can learn how to connect this device to electricity, but treatment with a ventilator? No way.

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The anaesthesiologist adds that, yes, there are training courses in mechanical ventilation, but they are intended for specialists in this field.

– We should remember that people in the most severe, critical state of health go to intensive care units. Dealing with them requires the highest skill, he warns.

A short course is not enough

When the patient is unable to breathe independently and does not supply the body with sufficient oxygen, the anaesthesiologist – after assessing the patient’s clinical condition, analyzing additional gasometric, tomographic and X-ray examinations – makes the key decision about connecting to a ventilator.

It is a “breathing machine”, but to be effective the anesthetist must get into the patient’s airway. He does this with the help of an endotracheal tube, which he inserts into the patient’s trachea.

– Intubation is a very unpleasant procedure for a conscious person, so he must be put to sleep and given muscle relaxants. I have been working in the profession for 30 years and many times I have seen young anesthesiologists whose hands were shaking with nerves during this procedure, their teeth were chattering. And intubation is a basic skill for a doctor who wants to save lives as an anesthesiologist and work in an intensive care unit. Training on phantoms will never be the same as contact with a living human being – explains the practitioner from Szczecin.

And he cannot imagine that such complex procedures could be carried out by people after short preparatory courses.

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It is not enough to turn on the respirator

Respirators differ from each other.

– Among them are extremely complicated, intelligent machines with different breathing options for the patient. I am not talking about typical transport respirators with a simple mechanism and a single mode of operation. These are used in ambulances on the way from the patient’s home to the hospital. However, the highly specialized ones must meet various parameters, and most hospitals in Poland have such devices at their disposal – says the doctor.

And what is extremely important, the care of anesthesiologists does not end with connecting the patient to the ventilator. They are also involved in restoring the patient’s ability to breathe independently.

– The ability to operate a ventilator requires specialist knowledge supported by practice. Only an experienced anesthesiologist can guarantee that it will be an effective and safe tool for the patient, concludes the anesthesiologist.

Read also:

  1. How do clinics work? «They are locked up, locked»
  2. “It’s worse than March”. Countries are introducing draconian restrictions
  3. Prof. Kuna: There is no evidence that lockdown will help us win the war against the virus

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