Life support

Family begs hospital to keep unvaccinated young mother on life support

URBANA, Ill. (NEXSTAR) – A father has urged doctors at an Illinois hospital not to bring his unvaccinated daughter to life who was hospitalized in intensive care with a severe case of COVID-19 several weeks ago.

“I think she can get by,” Richard Juvinall said moments after a difficult conversation with doctors about his daughter’s outlook. “Now it’s totally out of our hands.”

Juvinall and his family asked us not to release his daughter’s name as she fights for her life in intensive care, but he agreed to share his family story about the desperation and shock they felt when they heard doctors tell her that her daughter might not survive a battle. with the coronavirus.

“I want them to do everything possible and for us to decide to unplug it,” he said.

Juvinall claims that ICU doctors put her daughter, a young mother, on an ECMO machine, which is a special device that recycles blood from a patient’s body to inject more oxygen into the bloodstream to support her. heart and lungs. Even though doctors advise him that his daughter’s prospects are bleak, Juvinall says he and his family aren’t ready to give up in their efforts to keep her alive.

“They just don’t want to treat her anymore. They want to make the decision to remove her from life support. He said, “I told them ‘No'”.

He and other family members say the hospital has agreed to keep her on life support for an additional week and to see the subject again in a week if she can survive long enough.

“It basically depends on God, and God is the one who can take it,” he said.

Officials at Carle Hospital declined to comment on the patient’s specific case, citing the lack of a waiver to discuss private medical information, but in a statement, a spokesperson said the family would be included in the decision as to when to terminate life support if this occurs. That much.

“While we cannot publicly discuss the care of a specific individual, it is important to know that Carle values ​​and prioritizes each patient’s experience and we are working to ensure that all patients, families and caregivers are part of the process to get the best possible results, ”said Brittany Simon, Public Relations Manager.

In an interview, Allen Rinehart, vice president of inpatient operations at the hospital, spoke about many of the common challenges that doctors in the system have faced over the past 18 months as they sometimes have to deliver difficult news. to families.

“These decisions are made daily with all critically ill patients,” said Rinehart, describing the process in general. “Our doctors and nurses communicate with patients and families on an ongoing basis and together they reach a consensus on the best plan of care for each patient.

The average hospital stay for patients with COVID can often occupy much longer than patients with other conditions, which can worsen administrative or regional efforts to create beds for new incoming patients.

“COVID patients who are hospitalized tend to be here longer than many other illnesses treated in hospital, especially intensive care patients,” Rinehart explained. “It’s a respiratory problem. The lungs are simply not functioning properly, and it takes longer to heal and reach the patient to the point where it is safe to return home. ”

The state’s southernmost region, Region 5, recently reported five critical care beds available, despite having been completely short of beds for weeks.

Of the 21 counties in Illinois with the lowest vaccination rates, 19 of them are in the southern part of the state. Two of them are on the state’s western border with Missouri.

While Carle Hospital’s main campus is located in Champaign County, which has the ninth highest immunization rate in the state, some of the hospital group’s outlying locations often treat patients from as far away as the Clay County, which has the ninth-lowest vaccination rate in the state out of 102 counties at just 35%, or as far east as Vermilion County, which has vaccinated only 42% of its population 18 years and over.

“One of the most common things about a hospital patient who is positive for COVID is that he or she is not vaccinated,” Rinehart said. The latest available data indicate that of the 85 patients hospitalized in Carle establishments, 74 of them are not vaccinated.

The latest available data indicate that of the 85 patients hospitalized in Carle establishments, 74 of them are not vaccinated.

For the first time in weeks, the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations has declined slightly at Carle Hospital facilities, although most of their intensive care beds are still full.

Juvinall, who was vaccinated, says he then lost confidence in the effectiveness of the vaccines after testing positive with a breakthrough case of the Delta variant.

“I don’t believe it anymore,” he said. “I did it at one point, but after I got sick then my whole family got it because I had it.”

In fact, the FDA says that vaccines do not contain any coronavirus particles, and cannot infect a person with COVID-19. This is just one of the many common misconceptions that healthcare professionals face with patients, in addition to the difficult task of dealing with their physical symptoms.

“If you are not vaccinated, your likelihood of being hospitalized, needing the intensive care unit, or dying is significantly higher than if you were vaccinated,” Rinehart said.

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