CHUM staff adopt new treatment methods for COVID-19 patients

Click to play video 'Inside look at Montreal hospital ICU’s fight against COVID-19' Inside look at Montreal hospital ICU’s fight against COVID-19
WATCH: The CHUM's medical staff is working night and day to treat COVID-19 patients. As Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, the techniques used to treat patients have dramatically improved, as physicians and scientists learn more about the deadly virus – Nov 27, 2020

On average there are three to 10 COVID-19 patients a day being treated by the medical team inside the ICU at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM). The number has dropped significantly compared to the daily average of the virus’s first wave — a lot due to new knowledge of coronavirus and how to care for patients.

The director of CHUM’s ICU, Dr. Jean-François Lisé, told Global News that patients aren’t immediately put on ventilators or put into medically induced comas. And the anti-inflammatory drug, dexamethasone, is commonly administered to patients suffering from coronavirus.

“This is the only drug at the moment that’s been shown to change the mortality of patients in the ICU,” Dr. Lisé said.

Read more: ‘Majority’ of Canadians should be vaccinated against coronavirus by September: Trudeau

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The number of overall COVID cases in Quebec has been increasing by more than 1,000 a day for most of November and the number of patients being treated in hospitals across the province remains above 600.

Lisé says this is not the time for the public to let down their guard.

“We’re still not at the end of it and we’re not still winning the war at the moment,” he said.

His team continues to work tirelessly around the clock to treat patients.

“We also see the hospitalization increase. Sometimes it decreases but never enough to make us feel safe that we’re going to be out of the second wave,” Mélissa Gagnon-Hamelin, a CHUM respiratory therapist told Global News.

Read more: Coronavirus: Quebec families reporting increased stress as second wave continues

One of the CHUM’s original COVID-19 patients, Denis Brott, was hospitalized for 45 days, spending 32 days in a medically induced coma last spring.

The professional cellist is grateful to the medical team that saved his life.

“It is remarkable that I am here today,” he told Global News.

There are still occasions where people flagrantly violate public health guidelines, such as the case on Nov. 23 at an indoor shopping mall in Rosemère, where more than a dozen people removed their masks and danced for several minutes within two metres of each other.

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Brott cringes about these kinds of cases.

”It’s surreal given the reality that I know,” he said.

Lisé insists people need to be vigilant with the holidays around the corner.

”Christmas is coming. Are people going to respect the recommendations from the government and public health? And if they don’t a third wave could just happen,” he said.