The Respiratory Therapist works with people who are having breathing problems helping them to regain the ability to breathe on their own. Asthma is one of the leading causes of death in people in America today. Asthmatic people are not able to breathe on their own and their lungs fill up with water not leaving space for any air. The Respiratory Therapist will give the Asthmatic person a breathing treatment using a nebulizer machine that will let the patient breath a medicine which is a bronchodilator used to treat or prevent the symptoms of asthma, emphysema, and other breathing conditions. The machinery turns the medicine into a vapor mist and the patient can breathe this deep into their lungs giving them relief and of course the ability to breathe.
Patients may need to use respirators and ventilators that help in their breathing as well. The Respiratory Therapist must make sure that the equipment is in good condition and working. The Respiratory Therapist normally works in the hospital under the supervision of physicians. The patient may have more than just a breathing problem and the doctors are there to monitor their needs along with the Respiratory Therapist. Today many Respiratory Therapists are contracted to work outside the hospital but work in nursing homes for seniors who need the use of a respirator.
The Respiratory Therapist often works in emergency situations resulting from injury or illness. In this case the Respiratory Therapist must be able to get the equipment ready for the patient and stay with the patient monitoring their every motion. The patient can lose the capability to breathe causing a massive heart attack or stroke. Many times the Respiratory Therapist works with patients in a treatment program because they have an ongoing breathing disorder. Many people who suffer from emphysema need the Respiratory Therapist to help operate the machine. The Respiratory Therapist operates machines that provide oxygen while other equipment provides medicine in the form of a mist or gas. The physicians normally give the Respiratory Therapist a prescription for the dosage that is needed to be given to the patient. The Respiratory Therapist is the one who decides the type of equipment that the patient needs in order to get a therapy treatment. The Respiratory Therapist must know how to use the equipment properly being fully aware of the dangers and hazards involved in each kind of treatment. The Respiratory Therapist must monitor the patient during treatment and report any adverse reactions to the doctor. In some cases if the patient shows symptoms that they are not receiving the treatment well the Respiratory Therapist may stop the treatment and call the doctor to assist. The patient could have a blockage that prevents from getting the medicine. The patient could be allergic to the medicine causing them to show adverse symptoms that could be dangerous. The Respiratory Therapist will immediately stop the procedure and get the attending physician to come and check the patient for the problem.
The Respiratory Therapist may repair some of the equipment but normally will request that the equipment go for repairs when it is needed. The Respiratory Therapist duty is to make sure that all equipment is running properly with no problems that can be harmful to the patient or themselves. The hospitals normally provide a technician who is capable of repairing any equipment that is not functioning right but it is up to the Respiratory Therapist to keep up to date with the machines.
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