ICU doctor's COVID-19 warning: 'This is what you'll see at the end of your life'
Published Thursday, November 26, 2020 8:01AM EST Last Updated Thursday, November 26, 2020 9:43AM EST
After notifying a family their loved one had died from COVID-19, ICU Dr. Ken Remy felt compelled to send a message to emphasize how critical wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands are to reduce the transmission.
So he made a video simulating a COVID patient being intubated, in what could be the last moment of their life that they are awake and lucid.
"I hope that the last moments of your life don't look like this," Remy says in the video, holding up a laryngoscope and a breathing tube used when intubating patients. "Because this is what you'll see at the end of your life if we don't start wearing masks when we're out in public."
Remy is a pediatric and adult critical care physician scientist at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. He says he's treated over 1,000 COVID patients and has intubated well over 100 of them.
Missouri is roughly doubling its amount of COVID cases each month. The state is reporting well over 4,000 new COVID cases every day.
More and more, Remy is hearing people falsely claim that wearing masks is ineffective at preventing COVID; some patients are telling him that they aren't fearful of the virus because the likelihood of dying of COVID is low.
Remy turned that rationale on its head.
"If I had to win the lotto with those chances, I'd play it every single day," he said of the chances of dying from COVID-19.
He's not just an ICU doctor; Remy runs the COVID laboratory at Washington University that's testing new treatments to help patients survive.
After holding up the laryngoscope and breathing tube in the video, Remy goes on to say: "I promise you this is what your mother, or your father, or your children, when they get COVID disease, will see at the end of their life. This is serious. I beg you please practice the precautions to reduce transmission of COVID disease so that we can effectively prevent disease for you and your loved ones."
In recent weeks, Remy says they are seeing a significant uptick in cases and hospitalizations. They've had so many fatalities, their morgue is full, he says.
That, and having just gotten off the phone with yet another family that's lost a loved one to COVID, compelled him to act and to get people to follow the prevention precautions.
"Many of these patients will die unexpectedly and at the end of the day, as an ICU doctor, I'm the one that's got to call," he says. "I think that, that was weighing on me."