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Covid patients dying after refusing ventilators as families wrongly fear machines will kill them, say docs
COVID patients are dying unnecessarily after refusing to go on ventilators, doctors have said.
Members of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine say they are being confronted by patients or their relatives who wrongly fear the machines will kill them.
Dr Alison Pittard, the dean of the faculty, said patients around the country have died because of their fear of intubation.
She told The Telegraph: "It's really difficult for doctors working in ICU when you see a patient deteriorate and you know that if you don't put them on a ventilator they are going to die, but they are refusing.
"They get sicker and sicker and sicker, then you have a situation when they become semi-conscious, so you can't have an informed conversation. We have to honour our patients' wishes."
Some patients who get severely ill after contracting Covid-19 have their lungs damaged, causing the body's oxygen levels to drop and making it harder to breathe.
'SICKER AND SICKER'
In these severe cases, a ventilator is used to push air, with increased levels of oxygen, into the lungs.
Dr Pittard added: "If you get to that point where you are being offered a ventilator, if you refuse there is a 100 per cent chance you are going to die."
Patients with milder symptoms may be given ventilation using face masks, nasal masks or mouthpieces which allow air or an oxygen mixture to be pushed into the lungs.
This method is known as "non-invasive" ventilation as it does not involve any internal tubes.
As of Friday evening there were 3,918 Covid patients on ventilators across the UK, out of a total of 35,375 people in hospital.
The Government said a further 1,200 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday, while there had been a further 23,275 lab-confirmed cases.
The total number of Covid-19 infections in the UK is 3,796,088, with 105,571 fatalities registered since the beginning of the pandemic.
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