futile treatment for low oxygen saturation

German doctors seem to be much better at helping their super-virus patients than doctors is most other countries. I’m not able to render an opinion on what they’re doing different, but thought this quote was helpful:

The other question that needs to be asked is whether there is something about Germany’s treatment of coronavirus victims that has resulted in a lower death rate. That is how Dr Thomas Voshaar, a lung specialist who runs a clinic in the town of Heinsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia sees it. In an interview with the Frankfurter Allegmeine, he speaks of how he has treated 29 patients without suffering a single death so far. It isn’t testing that makes the difference, he says – he doesn’t even bother with the tests because he finds them unreliable. Instead, he gives suspected Covid-19 patients a CT scan of their lungs in order to assess the extent of damage – and then treats them occasionally.

What he doesn’t do, he says, is rush to put patients on a ventilator. In fact, only one of his patients so far has been given this form of treatment. It is best avoided for as long as possible, he says, because the machines exert too much pressure on the lungs, and the air supplied is too rich in oxygen. That can lead to patients dying of collapsed lung. He says he was astounded at the extent to which ventilators have been used to treat patients in Italy.

Is Germany treating its coronavirus patients differently? [spectator.co.uk] (emphasis added)

Some of the stories out of Italy are of patients who go to the hospital with mild breathing problems and rapidly deteriorate. One theory is that oxygen therapy directly contributes to these patients’ deterioration.

My understanding is that patients are put on oxygen on the basis of their oxygen saturation levels, as measured by a finger meter. But the finger measurement doesn’t provide context for what’s actually going on in the rest of the patient, and it’s probably inappropriate to start treatment with pure oxygen solely on the basis of one of these devices.

My mom has a 96 year old friend who started hospice care after falling almost a year ago. She’d been prescribed oxygen years before, for reasons unknown to me, and had dutifully worn the hose from her oxygen concentrator every night. But after starting hospice care this 96 year old woman started to refuse her oxygen treatment, as she didn’t care about living anymore. Her oxygen saturation level didn’t change (as measured by the finger meter), and I suspect she may be doing better without the supplemental oxygen. I further suspect, but have no way to prove, that this woman’s oxygen therapy was always counter-productive.

Enough people seem to benefit from oxygen therapy that doctors must assume supplemental oxygen is usually helpful, and that none of their patients are harmed by a larger percentage of oxygen in their inhalations. But “the credibility of the evidence for [liberal use of oxygen] is unclear”:

[…]
Interpretation
In acutely ill adults, high-quality evidence shows that liberal oxygen therapy increases mortality without improving other patient-important outcomes. Supplemental oxygen might become unfavourable above an SpO2 range of 94–96%. These results support the conservative administration of oxygen therapy.

Mortality and morbidity in acutely ill adults treated with liberal versus conservative oxygen therapy (IOTA) (emphasis added)

If you have any anecdotes about people being helped or harmed by oxygen therapy, please share them with me – sign up for my free reports emails, and send a response to that email, or comment on Edgar Cayce on Psychic Health (on facebook).