Doctors and healthcare workers have been at the forefront of this pandemic. fighting for the lives of millions of people who have contracted the deadly COVID-19 virus - all while putting their own lives at risk. Time and again, through many channels and mediums, people around the world have been urged to wear face masks in public, maintain social distancing and wash hands regularly to prevent contracting the virus. Yet it has still fallen on a few deaf ears, but it probably won't after watching this ICU doctor's simulation of what he described as "the last moments" of COVID-19 patient.
As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. Something as serious and deadly as COVID-19 requires a whip if need be to create awareness of the gravity of the situation. An ICU doctor at the Washington University-BJC Health System in St. Louis did just that.
In a brief video, Dr. Kenneth Remy, a pediatric and adult critical care physician, simulated what a patient sees in the last moments after being infected by the COVID-19. As scary as it appears, it is very much real and emphasizes the importance of wearing a face mask among other COVID-19 precautions.
"This is not fear-mongering. This is real," Remy says in a desperate plea for the public to take the virus seriously, according to People.
"This is what it looks like when you breathe 40 times a minute, have an oxygen level that's dipping well below 80. This is what it's going to look like," he added.
The video by Dr Remy was shared by him on Twitter last week and has since been viewed over 200,000 times. He made the video after seeing high mortality in people dying of COVID-19 in the ICU. The 43-year-old doctor has treated over 1,000 COVID-19 patients, incubated at least 100 of them during the pandemic and witnessed 50-60 deaths.
What's at stake?
"I hope that the last moments of your life don't look like this," he continues, holding up a laryngoscope and endotracheal tube used for intubation. "Because this is what you'll see at the end of your life if we don't start wearing masks when we're out in public."
Speaking to People magazine, Remy said he really doesn't want to tell families that their loved ones, who were healthy a week ago, are now dead. That's the reality of the situation.
"To be perfectly candid, I fully recognize that restricting the way we conduct our lives right now has been exceedingly difficult and uncomfortable. But you know what is really uncomfortable? Not being able to breathe. Not being able to leave an intensive care unit. What's really uncomfortable is being vulnerable in a bed, where someone is putting a plastic tube down your throat to help you, and you may not survive. Once you get into a situation in the intensive care unit where you wear a breathing tube, your mortality rate goes way up," Remy was quoted as saying.
Even though Remy is working his best to try and save lives, he is also putting himself at risk. For instance, performing CPR or intubating has a certain risk of exposure and then having passed that to his loved ones.
The US is the worst-affected country by the virus. There have been more than 260,000 deaths and over 13.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. With the holiday season at its peak, it is more important than ever to stay cautious and try not to give in to the temptation of hosting parties or flouting any COVID-19 safety guidelines.