Medics prepare to lift a COVID-19 patient onto a hospital stretcher outside the Montefiore Medical Center Moses Campus on April 7, 2020. Not related to this story.

John Moore/Getty

A coronavirus patient in the Bronx, New York City, died in March after unprepared medical residents set her ventilator too high, and subsequently made her heart stop, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Bronx patient who died was a woman in her 60s who was being cared for on the overnight shift by family-medicine residents who later said they did not know how to work the ventilator settings, The Journal reported.

It was one of many similar stories The Journal uncovered, showing how medical residents training to be family doctors, dentists, and psychiatrists were being put in charge of caring for the critically ill.

Montefiore Hospital did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. It also did not respond to The Journal.

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A coronavirus patient in the Bronx, New York City, died last month while being cared for by medical residents who didn’t know how to work her ventilator.

The incident at Montefiore Medical Center was one of multiple reported by The Wall Street Journal, which detailed how medical residents training to be family doctors, psychiatrists, and even dentists are now being shifted to the coronavirus outbreak’s front lines.

Residents are doctors who have graduated from medical school and are training for specialties. During this training, they work at hospitals shadowing experienced doctors in their focus area.

But during times of emergency, like the coronavirus outbreak, they can be put to work in the emergency department and intensive care units to meet the demand for doctors, even though this work may not be in their specialty area.

The patient who died at Montefiore Medical Center was a woman in her 60s who was being cared for on the overnight shift by family-medicine residents, who are not required to do a rotation in critical care while training.

When the patient’s heart stopped, doctors ran to her room and found that her ventilator had been turned up too high. 

Story continues

One of the doctors asked two of the residents if they knew how to work the settings on a ventilator, and they said no, The Journal reported, citing a resident who was in the room. 

Nurses at Montefiore Medical Center Moses Division hospital protesting for personal protective equipment on April 2, 2020.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The Journal reported that medical residents at Montefiore Medical Center are largely being put in charge of patients who are 65 and older, while younger patients who have a better chance at surviving coronavirus are getting the attention of more experienced doctors and nurses.

The Journal said the hospital referred the paper to an outside public relations consultant when reached for comment on the story, and said it never got a response.

Montefiore Medical Center did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Earlier this month the hospital’s nurses and doctors had protested over a lack of personal protective equipment, echoing claims of many other medics around the world.

The New York State Nurses Association has also filed a lawsuit against the hospital for unsafe working conditions during the outbreak.

Health workers, particularly those on the front line, have been placed under immense pressure during the coronavirus pandemic. New York City is also the epicenter of the US outbreak.

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