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TGH uses treatment for newborns to help COVID-19 patients

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 19:12:11-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Doctors at Tampa General Hospital are using a treatment normally used on newborns with trouble breathing to help patients battling the coronavirus.

The treatment is called “Prone Therapy” or “Proning.” Dr. Jason Wilson said it’s basically when a patient is told to lay on their stomach instead of their back to “feel more comfortable.”

“It seems to really help some of our COVID patients,” Wilson said. “They’re actually able to get oxygen in their lungs better.”

Dr. Wilson is a board-certified emergency medicine physician for Tampa General Hospital. He said some patients have a tough time being on the ventilator.

TGH saw how successful proning was for patients in New York, so Wilson said they started to try it on local patients.

There are several factors doctors must look out for before assigning prone therapy to a patient, according to Wilson. It normally works well for patients having trouble breathing, whose oxygen levels are a little lower than they should be, but they’re still able to maintain a conversation and are not throwing up.

Proning also helps free up ventilators for patients with more severe symptoms. Some are released from the hospital quicker, too, freeing up beds.

“Patients can go home with instructions on prone therapy and do it from home,” Wilson said. “It’s a therapy that has no cost and no harm.”

Again, prone therapy is not for everyone. You should have a discussion with your doctor before trying to do it on your own.