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  • Writer's pictureDr. MeiLan Han

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.

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