As the holiday approaches, infectious disease specialists are bracing for the possibility that big family get-togethers and travel will propel the spread of RSV, flu and COVID-19.
ECMO, the highest level of mechanical life support, functions as a temporary heart and lungs for some of COVID-19's sickest patients. But the waitlist is too long for many patients who need it.
As hospitals struggle with the patient surge in Los Angeles County, their ICU nurses are overwhelmed by the physical demands and emotional toll of caring for the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
With COVID-19 becoming a critical focus in hospital intensive care units, nurses, doctors and other caregivers have had to shift gears to protect staff and save patients.
An NPR analysis of the nation's 100,000 ICU beds finds some communities can accommodate far more critically ill patients than others, signaling potential disparities in care in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pregnant women in intensive care with severe cases of the flu have a higher risk of giving birth to babies prematurely. The risk of breathing problems for the baby is also substantially higher.
Some hospitals are putting cameras in their neonatal intensive care units to reduce the number of people — and germs — from entering. But some NICU staff may not want to be watched around the clock.
A bedside computer loaded with software that tracks vital signs in the ICU can pick up early warning patterns, specialists say. But it takes a human care provider to sort the signal from the noise.