Italian doctor treats coronavirus patients at home

Doctor treating Italian women with coronavirus symptoms at home in Piacenza, Italy
Doctor treating Italian women with coronavirus symptoms at home in Piacenza, Italy Copyright LUIGI CAVANNA HANDOUT
By Euronews with AP
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One Italian oncologist has shown how to ease pressure on intensive care beds in hospitals by treating people at home.


Italian doctor Luigi Cavanna, a senior oncologist in Piacenza has been fighting the coronavirus by treating patients at home.

Cavanna, who is based in the Emilia-Romagna region that borders the hardest-hit areas of the country, rushed to help in the fight against the new virus, and like many colleagues, saw emergency wards and intensive care units filling up to capacity early on.

When a local resident called with COVID-like symptoms, Cavanna and his colleagues visited her at home, performed an ultrasound test on her chest and immediately prescribed antiviral drugs normally used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

They left an oximeter with her, so that she could send data about the oxygen levels in her blood over the following days and she slowly improved.

Since then, just over 100 patients have been treated at home by Cavanna and his team.

Less than 10 percent of his patients had to be admitted to hospital, with an overwhelming majority responding well to home treatment and recovery.

What is now becoming known as the "Piacenza model" has already inspired colleagues in his region.

The local health authority and the Emilia Romagna's regional administration are putting together teams tasked with treating and monitoring COVID-19 patients at home.

Cavanna hopes the approach followed by him and his colleagues will be replicated by others.

Other Italian regions have already got in touch to know more about the strategy, which could be especially fruitful in areas that have been less affected so far by the epidemic.

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