Providers rely on extra safety measures and planning

Original article published by Cliff Mehrtens, Novant Health

Keeping supplies nearby

Dr. Josh Hughes’ act of planning ahead is helping keep people safe.

Dr. Josh Hughes

Hughes, the assistant director of the emergency department at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, has made a huge effort to have an intubation kit ready and at the bedside for those patients suffering with coronavirus. Intubation is the delicate, tricky, process of inserting a tube (called an endotracheal tube) through the mouth and then into the airway. It is done so that a patient can be placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing.

“It is one of the riskier things we do” around caring for coronavirus patients, Hughes said. Intubating generates aerosols and droplets, which can expose health care workers to COVID-19.

Hughes’ effort to have a supply kit at bedside eliminates the need to scurry about for additional supplies or exit the room.

“The bag has everything in it,” he said. “You can take exactly what you need.”

Hughes, like all emergency room providers, is accustomed to working in high-stress situations. That mindset has been heightened during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Someone has to take care of these people who are sick and suffering,” he said. “Sometimes it’s challenging and at times can be a dirty job. We’re here to help.”