Prof. Eliyahu Sorkin, the head of the ICU at Mayanei HaYeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak said that 40% of the seriously ill coronavirus patients in the hospital are young people – aged 19-50.
“This is a completely new phenomenon,” Prof. Sorkin said. “The virus is completely different than the first wave. Young people are becoming seriously ill enough to be ventilated.”
“We’re encountering situations that we don’t recognize from the first wave. Patients arrive from home, they’re still speaking on their cell phones, and then within a day they’re sedated and ventilated. All the prior classifications [of the virus] aren’t holding true anymore.”
Prof. Sorkin, who is a Chabad chassid, said the above observations during a meeting with Chabad Rabbanim before Yom Kippur. He reiterated the same message in an interview with Makor Rishon on Tuesday morning, saying that the hundreds of patients whom he’s treated in the past few months are more severely ill than those who were ill with the virus from April to June.
“We’re seeing now what Europe experienced with the virus during the first wave. I don’t know if it’s the same coronavirus or if it mutated but there’s no doubt that it’s far more harmful. We’re seeing severe damage that we didn’t see during the first wave.”
Prof. Sorkin elaborated that during the first wave, patients arrived with mild respiratory distress which was quickly alleviated with respiratory assistance and patients recovered without severe side effects. But this time around, the situation has changed dramatically, he said.
“Patients are arriving with decidedly more complex lung conditions which require ventilation for a month, a month and a half, and longer. We’re also seeing scarring in the lungs which causes clinical damage and we don’t know yet if the damage is reversible or not. Patients need to be ventilated far more quickly and the virus is causing a decrease in oxygen levels and blood oxygen saturation.”
Furthermore, Prof. Sorkin has noted that almost all patients with lung damage suffer kidney damage as well. “The questions regarding the damage from the virus are only growing,” he said in a frustrated tone. “At the beginning, we saw that the virus damaged the blood vessel cells and we regularly administered huge amounts of blood thinners to prevent hypercoagulability and embolisms in the lungs and brain. But now, although we’re administering blood thinners, we immediately see bleeding in the patients, something completely different than what we saw during the first wave. I’ve been treating patients for 50 years and I don’t remember such a reality.”
Prof. Sorkin added one more issue to the frightening picture he painted by noting that more coronavirus beds won’t solve the problem of the larger number of seriously ill patients.
“We’re lacking doctors. It’s already been known for years that we’re lacking doctors who specialize in intensive care. Even if we add beds or ventilators, there won’t be doctors to treat these patients.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)