Downing Street have said that the Prime Minister does not have “pneumonia” and is “stable” and does not require assistance to breathe.
On Monday Boris Johnson was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) as his condition had worsened, Downing Street have announced.
On Tuesday a Downing Street spokesman said, “He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance.
“He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support.”
But an expert is asking why is the Prime Minister still in an intensive care unit (ICU) if he only requires “standard oxygen treatment?”
Another expert said that the NHS “doesn’t give up intensive care beds just for people to be looked over.”
The NHS website states that ICU’s are, “Specialist hospital wards that provide treatment and monitoring for people who are very ill.”
Adding, “Intensive care is needed if someone is seriously ill and requires intensive treatment and close monitoring, or if they’re having surgery and intensive care, can help them recover.
“Most people in an ICU have problems with one or more organs. For example, they may be unable to breathe on their own.”
Dr Nathalie McDermott, a clinical lecturer at Kings College London questions why Johnson is in intensive care, rather than a ward or High Dependency Unit if it is true he only requires standard oxygen treatment?
She said, “Downing Street are saying he’s not requiring anything other than oxygen which I find interesting because someone requiring oxygen wouldn’t normally be on intensive care.
Adding, “[The patient] might be on a High Dependency Unit, they might have two to one or one to one nursing.
“But normally you go to intensive care when you need additional breathing support. It’s difficult to know.”
Derek Hill, professor of medical imaging at University College London (UCL) warned that Johnson could be placed on a breathing aid called, a continuous positive airway pressure, also known as a CPAP.
The CPAP is less intrusive than a ventilator and bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and being intubated and placed on a ventilator.
The CPAP provides a steady rate of a mix of air and oxygen into the mouth.
Professor Hill warned that most coronavirus patients do “progress to invasive ventilation” which enables people to breathe who are struggling to or cannot.
Professor Hill said on Tuesday, “One of the features of COVID-19 in all countries seems to be that many more men become seriously ill than women, especially in the over 40 age group.
“Also, we know that people under about 60 seem to have a higher chance of making a recovery from critical illness with COVID-19 than older people.
“But there is no doubt this turn of events means Boris Johnson is extremely sick.”
He warned that this highlights three major issues.
“Firstly, many patients need help breathing, and there is a shortage of the mechanical ventilators that can do this, and in particular a shortage of the high-quality intensive care ventilators most suitable for COVID-19 patients who might need help breathing for more than a week.
“Secondly, COVID-19 patients need a huge amount of oxygen to help them breathe, which is potentially going to be in short supply.
“Thirdly, looking after people in intensive care requires skilled staff, and the experience of New York has been that finding enough skilled staff has been the greatest challenge.”
Dr Simon Clarke, a microbiologist, told Sky News on Monday, “I’ll say this to you, the NHS, particularly at this moment, doesn’t give up intensive care beds just for people to be looked over, it doesn’t work like that, even for prime ministers.
“He would not be in intensive care unless he needed to be in intensive care, especially not at this time, and I think it’s probably about time that the press people in Number 10 started levelling with us about what his condition really is.”
Furthermore, Johnson is being treated by one of the UK’s leading lung expert at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London.
The Daily Telegraph reported, that Dr Richard Leach is a senior clinician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and has been by Johnson’s bedside.
Colleagues of Dr Leach say he is a “brilliant doctor” and has “saved thousands of lives.”
A colleague of Dr Leach said, “He’s the most knowledgeable respiratory specialist in the country, and he’s a straight talker.
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