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Dominic Valentino III, DO ’01, FCCP, FACOI 
PCOM Heroes of the Front Line


April 28, 2020

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, PCOM; and Physician, Critical Care Medicine, Internal Medicine, Sleep Medicine, and Pulmonary Medicine, ChristianaCare’s Christiana Hospital, Newark, Delaware

Dominic Valentino III, DO ’01, FCCP, FACOI, wearing PPE in a hospital“I’m managing chronic lung disease patients with telephone and video virtual visits while also managing patients in the ICU. We want to keep our chronic patients out of the hospital to cut down on risks. We’ve had telemedicine capability for some time, but nationally there was slow adaptation due to lack of support from insurers. That’s changed on a dime. We can now talk to them and help them with the isolation they feel. Vital signs can be an issue, but many have pulse oximeters while others can take their own blood pressures. We can’t do OMM over the phone, but you can guide patients how to do it themselves. … In the ICU, I see patients with COVID-19 pneumonia that have multiple areas of their lungs that are inflamed and filling in with infectious fluid that doesn’t allow for gases to be exchanged. You can’t take it out with a diuretic. What’s making these patients so sick is their immune system ramping up into what we call an acute cytokine storm, causing damage to the lungs and other organs. We use steroids to curb the storm. While we’ve told people to avoid steroids before becoming infected because it could lower your resistance, once you have COVID, and your system is overly ramped up, steroids can play an important role. … We’ve made in-roads with COVID patients by doing awake proning, which improves areas of the lungs that can perform oxygen exchange. We also use high-flow nasal cannulas which have prevented some patients from intubation. Wall oxygen can go up to 15 liters a minute. We have devices that amplify the oxygen flow up to 50 liters a minute. Patients with the large nasal canula can talk and eat, plus they are not aerosolizing the virus, which protects health care workers. … Personally, I use social media to reach more people with evidence-based messages about the coronavirus. I post weekly on my Facebook page—Dom Val—without hype and politics, in a straight-forward manner. I discuss what we might expect in the coming weeks, pointing to CDC or other predictive models. I talk about the importance—and rationale—for social distancing and wearing masks in public. One post had 1,300 shares—all the way to Australia and Poland. I finish each post with a positive message about America’s response and my belief that our resilience will bring us through to the end. I want to help as many people as I can. What better time to do it?”

As told to David McKay Wilson
April 22, 2020

About Digest Magazine

Digest, the magazine for alumni and friends of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, is published by the Office of Marketing and Communications. The magazine reports on osteopathic and other professional trends of interest to alumni of the College’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and graduate programs at PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia.

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