Coronavirus Chicago: Rush University Medical Center doctor describes hospital's fight against COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some doctors inside the intensive care unit at Rush University Medical Center are sharing their experiences as they treat patients with COVID-19.

"We're running more ventilators right now probably than we ever had for an outbreak like this," said Dr. Brian Stein, pulmonary critical care physician and associate chief medical officer at Rush.

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Dr. Stein said most of the ICU patients on mechanical ventilators at the facility continues to take in the sickest patients transferring from community hospitals.

Stein said the hospital has seen a steady increase in cases over the past weeks.

"We have a large reserve of anesthesia ventilators that we can also use if need be," Dr. Stein said. "We've also been given some extra ventilators from the strategic national supply to use on patients as well and that's helping us replenish our ventilator supply."

Stein leads a group of healthcare providers who are treating COVID-19 patients both inside and outside of the ICU.

The hospital has created a triage area in the entrance to the emergency room and in their lobby space, but have not had to use it yet. So far, they're holding their own.

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"From a PPE standpoint, we're actually doing okay right now," Dr. Stein said. "I think we are well stocked with gloves, gowns, masks and those sort of things."

And while the veteran physician knows that the number of coronavirus patients will grow every day, he said for the nurses, respiratory therapists, and other healthcare professionals, the continued emotional support and understanding that they are out there working hard and working long hours makes all difference.

"If you talk to your average physician, your average nurse out on the front lines, I think they'd feel the same way," Dr. Stein said.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health website.
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