People typically are not placed on ventilators until they are clearly failing to support their own breathing. Most folks can not conceive of breathing as being ‘work’. Well it is work and when lungs are compromised enough getting them to ventilate and oxygenate requires every bit of work you can muster. And after doing that for awhile you simply tucker out - exhausted you quickly proceed from respiratory insufficiency to respiratory failure. And w/o intervention you can die in a matter of minutes.
That said, in busy hospitals the people operating those ventilators are very overworked. They are less able to tailor the settings to the specific needs of the patient. Some of the vents shown are transport units and not critical care machines. They were not designed to provide the needed settings required to ideally manage these very sick lungs. Any patients sharing a vent are doubly compromised.
It’s a catch 22 folks. You’re fatigued and sick and not able to functionally breathe for yourself and the best available care for that is not the best ‘possible’. BTW we certainly can keep folks on vents for extended periods. With proper care years, even decades on mechanical ventilation is well within our capability. Stephen Hawkins was one such example.
Lastly - I describe work of breathing above in the context of this acute covid19 disease. Now in chronic lung disease it can progress to that same level of breathing permanently. Essentially there is not enough lung remaining to support life. You entire existence revolves around each breath you take and that’s all you do because that’s all you can do. You sit still and work to breath. So as I periodically ‘rant’ about vaping, smoking dope...... any type of unnecessary lung abuse..... this is my compass. Until science can figure out how you can grow a new pair of lungs - you only have the ones you own. Cherish those things.
I’ve literally had to tackle my wife from going to see a Grandson. She spent a lot of time making him something for his room and I said I understand, we can take it there, hand-it off, talk at a distance outside and leave. He will still be there in a few weeks —