You have asked us, through our WhatsApp verification service, for an alleged statement from the College of Physicians in which there is “an appeal to the common sense of people who have taken lack of confidence as if the pandemic had ended” . The text also says that “many citizens do not take seriously that we have to protect ourselves and others” and ask to put “greater emphasis on the use of masks, hand washing and safety.”
They also talk about “invasive ventilation” since many people “don’t know what it is about.” According to this statement, patients with ventilation have to be for 2 or 3 weeks under an induced coma and connected to a respirator, often upside down, unable to speak or eat, which is why “elderly or frail people cannot endure ” Finally, everyone is asked to share “let’s take this seriously” until a vaccine is found.
We have contacted the General Council of Official Medical Colleges and they have confirmed to us that they have not issued said statement and neither has any other professional medical association in our country. We have obtained the same answer from Illustrious College of Physicians of Madrid.
The message has not only gone viral in Spain: in other Spanish-speaking countries it has also been shared as if it were a statement from the College of Physicians in your country. The Cuban newspaper “Cyber Cuba” published a story titled “Open Letter from Cuban Intensive Care Doctors on the Coronavirus: The pandemic is not over and we are not back to normal.” The same news was previously published by the Tribuna newspaper in Havana.
The same statement has also been shared in Mexico where the means of verification “Political Animal” has denied that the WhatsApp chain is from the College of Doctors of Mexico. Here you can see the publication.
Regarding the veracity of the content of the text to the assisted ventilation, the pulmonologist and vice president of the Spanish Society of Thoracic Pneumology, Germán Peces-Barba, explained, in this NIUS publication, that, in some cases, it has been necessary to resort to induced coma or to take advantage of unconsciousness naturally of patients with COVID-19 to keep them in the “prone position”, that is, face down to improve oxygenation of the lungs damaged by the disease.
The doctor assures that this technique is not performed on all patients, but is used for patients who have “a distress situation or a very severe lung condition” derived from pneumonia caused by the coronavirus. To make it work, patients must stay many hours like this that is why it is usually applied to those who are in an induced coma. And why is it better to put patients in this position? Peces-Barba explains that: “the areas that are behind, that is, the back, if we are on our back tends to collapse more, to worsen. When changing the position, this part of the bottom goes up and that area that was very closed opens and thus facilitates breathing in that area ”.
Some studies, such as this Chinese observational study, published in the American journal of respiratory medicine and critical care, ATS Journals, prove that the upside-down position is beneficial in reducing mortality in patients with severe bilateral pneumonia caused by COVID-19. The study was conducted at the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan (temporarily designated center for critically ill patients with COVID-19) in a total of 52 patients.
Finally, in relation to the consequences that this treatment can leave, we have contacted the Spanish Society of Intensive, Critical Medicine and Coronary Units and refer us to this interview by Dr. Candelaria de Haro at the . Agency. The doctor assures that “it would be risky to confirm whether it is true that in 20 days of treatment, a young patient can have a muscle loss of 40%”, although she does warn that, effectively being admitted to an ICU with a serious illness can cause ” a loss of muscle mass and even leave sequels at the cognitive level ”. He also clarifies that during assisted ventilation to avoid “trauma to the mouth and vocal cords” intubation through the mouth is removed after a few days (between 10 and 15) to replace it with a smaller cannula and thus avoid those possible adverse effects ”.
Press office of the Illustrious College of Physicians of MadridPress office of the General Council of Official Medical AssociationsCibercuba.comTwitter Tribuna de HabanaPolitical AnimalNiusdiario.es atsjournals.org Press office of the Spanish Society of Intensive, Critical Medicine and Coronary Units . Agency