Carroll Hospital’s respiratory care department given recognition, prepares for influx of patients

As hospitalization numbers rise across Maryland, Carroll Hospital is prepared to deal with an influx of patients that will enter the health care system as COVID-19 and, potentially, influenza strain resources.

Emily Love, who is one of about 50 respiratory care practitioners at Carroll, helps anyone with breathing problems who enters the hospital. On any given day, she and associates, can give patients emergency breathing medication or help manage ventilators for patients needing intermediate care, intensive care or life support.


“We try to help people to breathe before they get sick enough to need a ventilator and try to intervene early before they need life support,” said Love.

Carroll’s Hospital does not follow patient recovery outside of the hospital. However, the respiratory unit, has had a handful of cases where people have had to be put upside down in their bed, while breathing through a tube.


The method used to help patients breath is called, “proning,” to asset patients with breathing. Proning is the process of safely and precisely positioning the patient face down on their stomach to try and improve a patient’s oxygenation of their lungs. Proning can also help facilitate removal of secretions in a patient’s airways.

“We flip the patients over so that there faces are down on the bed and it helps to clear out their lungs in a gravitational way because their lungs are flooded with the COVID [-19] virus and help drain their lungs,” said Boore.

According to Boore, in severe cases, such as these, practitioners put patients on ventilators because they need the machine to breathe.

At Carroll Hospital, when a patient survives this, The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” is played for about 15 seconds.

“I haven’t heard it in a while because our numbers have been down. But, unfortunately, we expect to be hearing this more now that cases are going up again,” said Boore.

The hospital said at this time, that they have adequate patient capacity, staffing and personal protective equipment.

“The respiratory therapy department supports every unit in the hospital, so there’s always a therapist assigned to one of these units at any given time in the hospital,” said Keith Boore, director of respiratory care at Carroll Hospital.

Boore said that back in March, near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, getting the necessary personal protective equipment for the department was their first major challenge.

But since Carroll Hospital is not independent, and is operated by under LifeBridge Health, the unit was able to work with surrounding hospitals to get sufficient PPE and further assist patients.

As Maryland –– and the rest of the country –– is being hit with the second wave of the virus, coupled with the start of flu season, Carroll Hospital is well stocked with PPE supplies after building up its surplus over the past three to four months.

According to Love, she feels health care is one of the professional areas that does not often get recognized. But since the outbreak of the pandemic, people have become more aware of respiratory therapists and their work –– including an elected official.

Westminster Mayor Joe Dominick recently presented members of the respiratory care department at Carroll Hospital with a proclamation recognizing the essential services of respiratory care practitioners.


“This was the first year we had a mayor, an elected official, actually go out and recognize respiratory work throughout the state, but specifically Carroll County, for our hard work in fighting COVID by giving us a proclamation,” said Boore.

Each year, National Respiratory Care Week is typically celebrated internally within hospitals during the week of Oct. 25-31.

“We are very honored to have received this certificate, recognizing our invaluable work,” Boore said. “This pandemic has highlighted the significance of our work as respiratory care practitioners, and we will remain committed to ensuring patients receive the highest quality care in the community.”

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