Mayo Clinic doctors help New York colleagues navigate COVID-19 treatments

Doctors at one of New York City's largest hospitals have been getting a big assist from doctors in Minnesota as the pandemic has ravaged the city.

Using remote technology, Mayo Clinic doctors have been able to work with doctors who don't specialize in ICU treatment and help them care for patients as hospitals have been overwhelmed.

Recovered patients rolling out the door at New York-Presbyterian Hospital are part of a celebration in what’s been a grim, stressful job for medical teams.

"We knew that most of us couldn’t go there physically and so we had to come up with a different way to try and help out," explained Dr. Sean Caples, a Mayo Clinic ICU doctor.

Dr. Caples knew his colleagues at New York Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital needed support.

"They basically saw a tripling of the number of patients on a ventilator that they would see in a normal, typical day," he said. "And they had to recruit providers and doctors from other areas. For example cardiologists, surgeons who are usually not practicing in that environment."

So, they’ve worked with those non-traditional ICU doctors by using tablet computers and remotely becoming part of the team.

"So, basically what we do is do a round in the morning with the care team, the bedside," explained Dr. Caples. "We’ll have access to laboratory data. We’ll have access to X-rays.  We can offer our insight and expertise on things that are particular to an intensive care unit. Some of those physicians and providers are not accustomed to."

In some cases, it's providing expertise on ventilators and special medications that non-ICU doctors do not normally use.

"I think we’re starting to see the flattening of that curve," said Dr. Caples of the situation in New York. "The numbers compared to three weeks ago, when we started this, are less. You’re seeing a sense of a more calm. I think they’re looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel here. I am hopeful, no one can say for sure that there won’t be more resurgence. But they’re prepared and we’re prepared to help them."