31,000 and counting

Rick Lucas’ cellphone chimed, alerting him to an emergency in the acute care unit. He wondered whether it would be another case of COVID-19. 

He pulled on his thin surgical mask and dashed into a room where a patient was fighting to breathe. 

Lucas, a critical care nurse, and his team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus worked quickly, finding a vein for an IV and pulling an oxygen mask over the patient’s mouth and nose as he coughed. Lucas had been instructed to wear the same surgical mask all day for all but the highest-risk procedures, such as intubating patients.