• Aurika Savickaite

Medical staff in Italy pause at 1 p.m. to make a call

Updated: Jul 23


Health care providers at a hospital in Italy pause each day at 1 p.m. to call families of their patients who have COVID-19.


According to a Reuters article, the noon-hour used to be visiting hours for family, but not anymore. Patients who are hospitalized are isolated from family due to restrictions in place to stop the spread of the virus.


Whenever a patient with coronavirus is accepted into his hospital, he says, the staff write an email to their relatives assuring them that their loved ones will be treated “like family.” He says the hospital is trying to activate a system of video-conferencing, so that patients can see their relatives during the 1 p.m. call.

Marco Resta, deputy head of Policlinico San Donato’s Intensive Care Unit, said 50% of patients admitted to ICUs in Italy are dying. Hospitals are accepting only patients who need life-saving ventilation.


Maurizio Cecconi, MD, head of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, said in an interview with JAMA Editor Howard Bauchner that his hospital triages patients to determine those who can be sent home and those who need an ICU bed. He said they make no distinction between people who need an ICU bed for COVID-19 or for other reasons, such as organ failure or trauma.


Patients who are elderly and with underlying conditions are more at risk for complications of COVID-19, according to the CDC. They are more likely to be hospitalized in intensive care to receive ventilation help breathing.


Noninvasive ventilation via helmet is an alternative solution for patients who can tolerate it. Studies have shown NIV via helmet reduces the rate of intubation among patients who get better faster and have a lower mortality rate.


However, until the spread is halted, it’s unclear how families will be able to see their loved ones who are hospitalized, particularly those who are sedated for mechanical ventilation.

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