Wife shares ‘difficult’ video of husband battling Covid in ICU

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read

An intensive care doctor in the US has shared a confronting video of a Covid patient fighting for his life amid growing concern about vaccine hesitancy in the country.  

The clip "shows a clear example of what can happen to a person’s body" with severe Covid-19, said pulmonary and critical care specialist Dr Wes Ely when sharing the footage. 

He said the wife of the patient had implored him to post it on social media as she urged people to get vaccinated. 

Dr Ely pointed out the devastating symptoms suffered by some of the worst Covid patients who end up hospitalised.

"You’ll notice his eyes are swollen shut," he wrote. 

The man eyes can be seen swollen shut (left) while air also leaks into his chest (right). Source: Twitter/WesElyMD
The man's eyes can be seen swollen shut (left) while air also leaks into his chest (right). Source: Twitter/WesElyMD

"This is not fluid. It’s AIR from inside his chest leaking out his lungs through muscles & skin to his neck & into his face."

Dr Ely said while the patient was awake at the time of the filming, he had earlier been exhibiting "ICU delirium", a common outcome for patients stuck on a breathing machine. 

The doctor also shared an image of a CT scan, showing the man suffering from "Covid pneumonia" as well as "air leaking out under his skin".

"This is called 'barotrauma' & happens when the lungs get too stiff and pop," he explained.

"Difficult situation. We’re hoping he can heal."

Dr Ely recently published a paper on what he called the "harsh problem" of air leaks in ventilated Covid patients but said people could avoid such a fate by getting vaccinated.  

"Please help teach others and let’s get to herd immunity," he implored. 

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US experts give up on 'herd immunity' 

In raw numbers of Covid deaths, the US has been the worst hit country in the world when it comes to official death figures during the pandemic.

While the notion of herd immunity was much talked about in the early days of the global outbreak, many researchers and virus experts now don't believe herd immunity is ultimately achievable in the US, The New York Times reported. 

Even with the vaccine rollout, widespread hesitancy means the virus likely won't be going away any time soon. 

"People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is," the government's top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, told the Times. 

"That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense.

"I'm saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down."

Vaccine hesitancy is highest among Republicans, prompting a group of Republican doctors in Congress to release a video selling the safety of the coronavirus vaccines to their constituents, saying medicine, science and illness should not be political.

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