COVID-19 Solution: In Event of Vent Shortage, Med Students Will Bag Indefinitely

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CHANTILLY, VA – In the unfortunate but very possible event a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations leads to a shortage of ventilators, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) announced medical students will bravely bridge the gap by bagging intubated patients indefinitely.

“As it stands, states across the country have orders placed for ventilators but suppliers haven’t been able to keep up with the demand, and they may not be available when coronavirus peaks,” said AMSA member and sixth-year medical student at University of Virginia (UVA) Elaine Harvey. “We, medical students, are ready to act. If we can hold a retractor for 14 hours straight while on one foot during a Whipple, then we can do anything. We will be your ventilators.”

Ever since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), nations all over the world have been implementing varying degrees of social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” and prevent their respective health care systems from being overwhelmed. However, supplies of surgical masks and N95 respirators are already running low in the United States, and health care professionals fear they will run low on something else in a surge: ventilators.

Ventilators can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000. On the other hand, medical students have been considered dispensable up until now. Not any more.

“Medical students are young, dedicated, and passionate, with healthy immune systems and strong, strong sphincters able to withstand 48 hours of contained urine and stool,” explained UVA School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases Thomas Nelson. “Who knew the day would come that we found them essential health care workers? Thank you, med students. We salute you!”

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