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Guangzhou nurses "lift" abdomen of critically ill patient 24 hours a day

(People's Daily Online)    10:46, June 01, 2020

"Thank you for giving me a second life!" said a 73-year-old critically ill patient with COVID-19, whose surname is Shi, when she was discharged from the hospital on May 25.

According to the doctor, as a senior citizen and critically ill patient with COVID-19, Shi has recovered fast enough. After being treated with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for 21 days, she will continue to receive further lung rehabilitation treatment at home.

On Feb. 10, Shi's condition took a sharp turn for the worse when she went into shock. Although the concentration of oxygen supplied to Shi by the ventilator was very high, her peripheral blood oxygen saturation was still very low. At this time, Shi's lungs were so seriously injured she could no longer bear the oxygen supply to her organs.

Liu Xiaoqing, director of ICU, decided to apply ECMO to her immediately. However, during a round at the ward, medical staff found that although Shi had the support of ECMO, the tidal volume of her lungs still could not reach the target value.

In order to reopen her collapsed alveoli, Li Yimin and Liu Xiaoqing, medical workers of the hospital, finally found a suitable focus after repeated compression examinations.

They decided to use external forces to "lift" the patient's abdomen, which helps lung ventilation without affecting ECMO blood flow.

After the discovery, the ICU nursing team specifically appointed several nurses to take turns "lifting" Shi's abdomen 24 hours a day, continuing on all throughout the night without stopping.

Recalling her experience during the treatment, Shi burst into tears: "When I couldn't move my tracheal intubation, the doctors held me for rehabilitation exercise; after a nurse found that my feet were cold, she quietly bought a pair of socks for me...I am very grateful for the medical staff, who treat me like a family member." 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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