National Respiratory Care Week
To the Editor:
First proclaimed by President Reagan in 1981, National Respiratory Care week has been celebrated annually ever since, as a time to both raise public awareness of issues pertaining to maintaining healthy breathing and recognizing those members of the healthcare community that specialize in this discipline.
While ancient Chinese texts dating back as far as 2500 BC tell of using inhalation treatments for patients with asthma, the person considered the trailblazer in respiratory care in the modern era in the United States was Dr. Edward Levine.
In 1943, Dr. Levine trained a group of employees at Michael Reese hospital in Chicago to assist with care of patients following surgery. Naming them “oxygen orderlies,” these forerunners of the modern respiratory therapist were concerned primarily with the care of patients following surgery.
Today’s respiratory therapist is a highly trained clinician working to help patients in a wide variety of health care settings including hospitals, home care companies, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices.
In an average day, a respiratory therapist at Rumford Hospital could be educating an asthma patient on their disease, working with members of a pulmonary rehab class, performing a pulmonary function test, assisting with intubation of a patient in the emergency room, or be part of the medical team during a high-risk delivery.
Respiratory Care week is observed October 20-26 and the respiratory care team at Rumford Hospital would like to take the opportunity to express our thanks to the people of the River Valley community, and beyond, who have placed trust for their healthcare in us, and all the hard-working, dedicated professionals at RH.
Michael Breton, RRT