Pardee doctor uses awake proning to keep COVID-19 patients alive

At one mountain hospital, a doctor is using a technique called awake proning to help keep his patients alive.

It’s where you essentially rotate a patient in a hospital bed from their back, to their belly, to their side every few hours, while they’re awake.

“This is a concept we use mostly in the COVID-19 pneumonia patients,” said Dr. Gary Rodberg, pulmonary critical care physician at Pardee Hospital. Traditionally, proning is done for people who are on breathing machines and sedated.

Rodberg said using the technique while a person is awake is done to, hopefully, keep them from ever using a breathing machine. “From what we know and the literature, if you have to get on a breathing machine, then your chances of dying from COVID-19 are basically 80 percent,” Rodberg said.

Proning’s done to improve a person’s lung function, while allowing their oxygen levels to rise, ultimately giving them more time to recover.

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