'We saved some, lost others': Winnipeg doctor documents life in the ICU

A Winnipeg physician is giving Manitobans a look at life in the intensive care unit with a series of social media posts documenting the pandemic.

“Tough week working behind these doors,” reads a tweet from critical care and infectious disease hospital physician Dr. Sylvain Lother. “The sights and sounds are surreal. We saved some, lost others and many remain desperately ill.”

Tough week working behind these doors in the Covid ICU. The sights and sounds are surreal. We saved some, lost others and many remain desperately ill. Thanks to all those making sacrifices to soften the impact of this brutal pandemic #StayHome pic.twitter.com/J7YU6lVLuj

— Sylvain Lother, MD (@sylvainlother) November 23, 2020

Lother works at Winnipeg’s three main hospitals, treating some of the most critical COVID-19 patients. 

“It’s a challenge working in the ICU right now. What we’ve seen has been a large surge not only in patients in hospital, but also our ICU,” Lother told CTV News Wednesday.

During the COVID-19 update Wednesday, the province warned hospitals are struggling to keep up with the influx. 

“The number of hospitalizations due to COVID continues to increase at an unsustainable rate,” said Shared Health's Chief Nursing officer Lanette Siragusa. 

There are more than 300 coronavirus patients in hospital and 50 are intensive care, a number that has tripled in the past three weeks, said Siragusa. 

CLINICAL TRIALS UNDERWAY

Despite the strain on the health care system, Manitoba researchers are making strides in potential COVID-19 treatments. 

(Source: Dr. Sylvain Lother)

“We’ve learned a lot about how to treat this new infection,” said Lother.

He is part of an international team of scientists who are collaborating on clinical trials. 

“Right now in Winnipeg we are leading trials around the world of anticoagulation or blood-thinning medications that we think will hopefully help patients improve their chances of survival.”

‘THINGS WILL GET BETTER’

Lother said he and other health care workers draw strength from the encouragement of Manitobans. 

He tweeted out a photo of a particularly poignant message from the children of health care staff with this description: “Before we enter the COVID ICU hot zone – a series of posters are hung to help health care workers get through another day. Things will get better.”

In the make shift donning room where we dress up in PPE, before we enter the Covid icu hot zone - a series of homemade posters are hung to help HCWs get through another day. Things will get better pic.twitter.com/ZSudoUhwId

— Sylvain Lother, MD (@sylvainlother) November 24, 2020

“That’s a nice message that struck me. This is not forever. This is a sacrifice we all have to make,” said Lother.  

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