Doctors Share, Globally: So Should We!

By Shlomo Maital

   Doctors all over the world are using social media to rapidly share information about the coronavirus. And this is saving lives. Here is an example.

   An emergency room doctor at Lincoln Hospital, in the Bronx, New York City, reports on the BBC that some distressed COVID-19 patients are NOT being intubated, with ventilators. And the results are good. Why? What is going on?

   An Italian doctor published, on social media, the following insight: There are two types of coronavirus patients: L type and H type. L type have poor oxygenation, 60-70% oxygenation of their blood, or even 50% (normal is 95%). But they show no distress, are hungry and have good clinical presentations. Hmm. The H types have similar lack of oxygen, struggle to breathe – and they definitely need intubation.  

     Intubating L type patients can be harmful, and actually make them worse. Besides, with ventilators very scarce, misusing them can actually cost lives, by depriving those who need them.  The Lincoln Hospital doctor read this and acted on it, with success.  Well done!

     There is a desperate need to learn more about the novel coronavirus, and because this is a pandemic, it is vital to share knowledge rapidly, efficiently, candidly and truthfully, among countries. And doctors are doing this. They are sharing insights on-line and other doctors, despite long desperate work days, are tracking this literature and learning and applying what they learn.   As they are in Lincoln Hospital, Bronx.

     We can all learn from this. Why just doctors? We all can share ideas, creative solutions, and information. There is a catch. There are evil people out there, spreading rumors, fake news, conspiracy theories…and muddying the water, fogging the insights. And there are miscreants who are inserting pornography into Zoom conferences, some of them important.

     Twitter has been effective in preventing and punishing fake news. You get a warning, then removal, and have to meet conditions to get back on. Facebook has been delinquent and unwilling, for the most part. With social media playing a crucial role today, we cannot afford to have them act as delinquents, like Facebook. If needed, regulators should step up and put their feet to the fire.