Category Archives: Peter Goldberg

Montreal-area hospitals have almost reached capacity

COVID-19 situation in the ICU is critical

As the number of hospitalizations with COVID-19 patients increases into January 2021, Dr. Peter Goldberg discusses how the MUHC is planning to operationalize a potential increase in patients. These are some of the logistical and emotional choices Montreal area hospitals may have to face in the coming weeks.

Interviews with Dr. Goldberg on the status of Montreal hospitals, and what happens next:

Who will be most affected by COVID-19?

A related post from November 2020:

We are months into the second wave of COVID-19 yet healthcare workers remain unable to predict who will get sick from the virus and who will not. Neither the severity of a patient’s symptoms, nor their age, forecast the ultimate outcome. Nor does the existence of a pre-existing medical condition dictate how things will end. The truth is, healthcare teams do not know who will be most affected by COVID-19. In a recent interview, Dr. Peter Goldberg, associate member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories and researcher in the RESP Program of the RI-MUHC, expresses his frustration at his inability to save someone who is too young, too alive, to die:

“it was like a forest fire, and all I had was a garden hose.”

Dr. Goldberg

Even patients seemingly on the mend can take a sudden turn for the worse and experience a rapid decline. Suddenly their life is in jeopardy. Physicians must be ready to respond quickly when this happens, but when not successful they are left to watch their patients pass on without the support of their family or friends.

“If there is anything more distressing than seeing someone die, it is seeing them die alone, or a nurse holding up a phone on Zoom or Skype so that family members can watch this,”

Dr. Goldberg

Canada’s case fatality rate is high amongst peer countries, but it is suggested that the trend could be due to testing: in Canada, testing has focused on individuals with symptoms and at-risk individuals, rather than the entire population. Regardless of testing, as the number of people with severe symptoms require hospitalization increases, hospitals become overloaded and physicians are faced with difficult decisions. Reflecting back on the spring and how the hospitals quickly filled up, Dr. Goldberg recalls having “very disturbing” conversations with hospital ethicists, and he sincerely hopes not to find himself in a similar position this time around:

“I don’t think the community knows that these conversations are going on. We’re talking about them — we’re not talking about something esoteric about ourselves. We’re talking about how ICUs, if we reach the limitation of our capacity to treat COVID patients, then we’re going to have to make decisions about who gets the bed.”

Dr. Peter Goldberg

Dr. Goldberg speaks of fighting this virus from a physician’s perspective, and the difficulty to predict who will be most affected by COVID-19, in his interview with Sharon Kirkley of the National Post.

The interview with Dr. Goldberg can be read here:

Code Life Ventilator Challenge Peter Goldberg

COVID-19 Code Life Ventilator Challenge

Dr. Peter Goldberg is a COVID-19 Innovation Grant recipient for the Code Life Ventilator Challenge. The pandemic has exposed the critical shortage of ventilators in a number of health care settings. Ventilators are expensive — low-cost models range between $5,000-$10,000 — and are unavailable in many care settings. Dr. Peter Goldberg and his team launched the SubK Sprint to build a clinical-grade ventilator that can be produced cheaply and easily, anywhere in the world. 

Read more about the award: Code Life Ventilator Challenge – Made For All, McGill University.

About the Joule COVID-19 Innovation grant program: https://joulecma.ca/innovate/covid-grants.

Dr. Peter Goldberg is a member of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, Associate Member of the RI-MUHC RESP program, leader of the SubK Sprint, and is the Director of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the McGill University Health Centre.

Dr Peter Goldberg interview in La Presse on the experience of COVID-19 recovery post-ICU

COVID-19: A Long Road to Recovery

Dr. Peter Goldberg of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, Director of Critical Care Medicine at the MUHC and member of the RESP Program at the RI-MUHC, interviewed by La Presse about COVID-19 recovery post-ICU. Specifically, Dr. Goldberg discusses the experiences of himself and his team caring for patients like Paul Mayrand. Mr. Mayrand was the first COVID-19 patient to be admitted to the ICU in mid-March 2020.

Dr. Goldberg explains how patients like Mr. Mayrand, who survive days or even months in the ICU, experience severe and enduring side effects from the powerful medications they required. Recovery includes a long period of rehabilitation as patients re-learn how to eat, speak, move and to perform other basic tasks. As well, permanent damage is done to major organs, not to mention the psychological effects of enduring such a traumatic experience.

Learn more about Dr. Goldberg’s work in the ICU during the COVID pandemic, and the experiences of other COVID patients: