Lung Failure Leads to COVID Tragedies, but Lung Disease was a Crisis Before the Pandemic
My Op-Ed in the L.A. Times
I experienced many opportunities this year to amplify my platform promoting lung health and clinical research for lung diseases since publishing Breathing Lessons: A Doctor's Guide to Lung Health. But, one opportunity that I am still pinching myself several months later was the opportunity to publish an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times.
BY MEILAN K. HAN JAN. 10, 2022 3:01 AM PT
The World Health Organization reports that more than 5 million people worldwide have died of COVID-19, with numbers rapidly rising again. When we look at how people with COVID-19 die, the most common cause is catastrophic lung failure.
Once the lungs fail, other organs soon follow, like a game of Jenga when the linchpin block is removed. At this stage, even for patients thought to be previously healthy, we cannot stop the virus from wreaking havoc. It’s a painfully familiar script for many admitted to the hospital with minor breathing issues: Blood oxygen levels drop. Supplemental oxygen isn’t enough. They end up on a mechanical ventilator. Days later they are dead.