The condition of a 22-year-old coronavirus patient, the youngest Israeli in serious condition as a result of the pandemic, has deteriorated and he has been placed on life support, the Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital said Friday.
The patient “is sedated and on a ventilator, but he cannot oxidize his tissues,” the hospital said. “In coordination with his family, it has been decided to transfer him for ECMO (Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) at Ichilov Hospital.”
The man, who has not been named, had no preexisting medical issues when he was diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
A resident of the southern port city of Ashdod, he was hospitalized last Wednesday and by the following day was no longer able to stand or take a shower, his mother told the Ynet news site on Monday. On Saturday he was given oxygen, his mother said, and in a phone call to her admitted, “Mom, I’m afraid.”
By Sunday morning, due to his rapidly deteriorating condition and increasing difficulty breathing, doctors at the Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital made the decision to sedate him and hook him up to a ventilator.
The woman said that she, her husband and their daughter are all in quarantine since they found out her son has the virus. She said that although the hospital asked if she wanted to come and see him, she turned down the offer, explaining that seeing her son connected to the ventilator would be too traumatic.
“I am unable to, I can’t go and see him with that machine [the ventilator],” she said.
“I told them it is difficult for me and that I am shaking all over,” she said. “I am afraid I will go to pieces there. I prefer to remember him as he was.”
The mother explained that her son had recently been in the US with two friends, touring in Miami and then Las Vegas. The three returned to the country last month and the man immediately went into home quarantine in accordance with Health Ministry guidelines. By last Wednesday, as his temperature rose despite taking medication, he was taken to the hospital.
Both the man’s traveling companions have also been diagnosed with COVID-19, and are in good condition, one in the hospital and another in a specially designated quarantine hotel, according to the report.
“The whole world is saying that [the virus] doesn’t harm young people,” the patient’s mother said. “People think it is a game, but he was very responsible and from the flight came straight home. It was important to him to be careful and responsible toward those around him.”
Ami Mayo, head of the intensive care unit at Assuta, told Ynet earlier this week that the patient had light symptoms initially but he quickly deteriorated, with severe difficulty in breathing and a drop in oxygen levels in his blood.
Mayo said medical staff tried noninvasive means for 24 hours but the man’s condition became serious so rapidly that the decision was made on Sunday morning to sedate him.
As of Friday, there have been 7,030 coronavirus cases and 38 deaths in Israel. Ninety-five people are currently on ventilators as a result of the disease.