Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Given the immense amount of medical information which is now freely available to everyone online, there is one thing which currently baffles me. Since this information has been well known to epidemiologists and the medical profession for nearly six months, and so presumably to the government’s advisors (I was given a very clear analysis of the likely spread of the disease in January), why is it only now that the government is asking manufacturers to supply the necessary respiratory equipment which is in such disastrously short supply and the shortage of which may lead to numberless deaths ? And is it beyond the realm of possibility for this equipment to be designed in such a way that it could be administered at home, thereby stopping the hospitals being overwhelmed ? Or have they perhaps deliberately delayed either in order to save money, a legitimate concern, or, as Richard Sennett has suggested, because of Dominic Cummings’s interest in the economic benefits of eugenics ?

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17 thoughts on “Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

  1. Piers Bedford says:

    I completely agree with your thoughts Charles.
    I sadly have much basic knowledge of COPD, breathing , related problems including home oxygen generating machines and cylinders and the intensive care needed. Like you I naively presumed that in january a huge amount of equipment would have been ordered . I gather that it was only yesterday they finally pulled a team in to try to arrange manufacturing these at some point in the future in the UK..
    Finally today we are to get the first of the obviously needed daily press conferences.
    What may come out is that we actually dont have many test kits and calling 111 will not result in a test being done. The daily statistics therefore are only of the dead and possibly dying inside the hospital system. I would be pleased to be contradicted should anyone know better.

  2. johnjomahoney says:

    Dear Charles, I write from the West of Ireland,where we are frequently updating and modifying our responses to try to deal with this dreadful Covid virus. I am horrified by the bizarre and poor response in the UK, but now doubly horrified by the possibility of Eugenics having a place in the determination of the policy. I can only strongly advise you to continue reasonable social isolation and serious attention to hand washing yourself and reminding people with whom you come into contact to do the same,John O Mahoney

  3. Yes, Dominic Cummings’ support for some variety of eugenics is one of the signs of his unsuitability for any position of influence, but eugenics is about doing things to and with people of child-bearing age. If, as is sadly credible, there’s anything intentional about the lack of resources to fight COVID-19 then that is more sinister still – silently implemented involuntary euthanasia.

  4. Piers Bedford says:

    i hope you dont mind me posting this message that i have just sent someone in the hope of finding some vague good that may come out of all this………….

    What the UK and indeed the whole world needs is a real bonding experience..
    There are now too many people for the world to comfortably support , which has led to a feeling of disconnect with others on a human level.
    Electronic devices and the ability to feel free to move about has led to fragmentation of societies and responsibilities and political polarization has led to divided communities.
    In the past , shared experience of natural disasters and communities of supporting peoples in wartime or economic disasters have brought people together .
    Out of all the bad it may bring, a world-wide plague is the best and worst bonding experience we could hope for !.
    A shared experience of that sort is the greatest leveller…we are absolutely all equals and equally vulnerable in the face of an epidemic.
    An epidemic takes no notice of “status”, age, race, sex, religion, borders or ability or wealth.
    Of course in that sense it is to be admired for its very modern egalitarian thinking!
    We may all have to help or be helped and all of us will be affected by inconvenience, economic struggle or illness or worse.
    We are all in it together, equally.
    The humanitarian way all the people of the world react to it will dictate how it is viewed in history.
    It may be the only good to come out of an otherwise unexpected and frightening experience for the entire world.
    The further benefit is that in a mainly tech world people will have to realise that the biggest impact on our lives still comes from complex primitive, non-tech natural events on our planet.

  5. Kate Woodhead says:

    Maybe it is nature’s way of culling the rising population of the world and a response to humans who are trashing the planet.

  6. Kate Woodhead says:

    Not my personal response, but maybe the reaction of nature. I am very likely to die of the virus if I contact it.

  7. Leslie Hills says:

    I appreciate much of what Piers has said. What has struck me most forcefully is the contrast between the measured, informative, helpful and positive address to France by Macron and the press conference by our PM yesterday. My daughter and her son left France to be with her family at the weekend not knowing when she will be able to go home and I wonder if, given the shambolic response of our government, she has done the right thing. Macron’s clear statement that by 12 o clock today, now passed, people had to decide with which persons with whom they would be sequestered for the foreseeable future, really struck home.

  8. Piers Bedford says:

    For centuries the British people have shown enterprise, inventiveness, creativity, resolve and bold thinking .
    A tiny country but one that somehow has fostered some of the greatest minds to have ever existed.
    Faced with the greatest pandemic the world has ever known and a few weeks having elapsed since it began, giving time for careful reflection,
    the minds of this unique nation have come together with one endeavour….
    buy as much loo paper as you can get your hands on.

    • Yes, but I’m sure that there are plenty of people applying their minds in laboratories, to whom we are not paying enough attention. They have known the characteristics of the virus since November, when it was supplied globally by the Chinese. They hope to be able to provide a vaccine within a year. We should not give up on this hope. Charles

  9. Respiratory Therapist here, there are “ventilators” that are made for home use. The problem is that when a person falls into the ARDS category, they require constant cardiac, respiratory, and hemodynamic monitoring, in addition to a variety of medications to keep the patient comfortable and maintain their blood pressure so that oxygenated blood is perfusing their brain and other critical organs. This requires training and experience/guidance by an experienced practitioner.

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