When Daryl Weber, the manager of Respiratory Care Services at Saddleback Memorial, reached out to Orange Coast College's Respiratory Care program director Alison Riggio to ask if she would consider loaning the College's ventilators to the hospital to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients, the timing could not have been better.
OCC had just announced that all in-person classes were suspended until March 30, and that a transition to online for most classes was probable after that. The three ventilators in OCC's Respiratory Care program would likely sit un-used for months.
"The timing worked out, as weird as that sounds because with the campus shut down the ventilators aren't being used and the primary course for incorporating these machines is [not scheduled until] the fall," explains Riggio.
OCC's Dean of Allied Health, Jane McLaughlin agreed that it would be a tremendous opportunity to be able to give back to the College's supportive hospital community, many of which serve as clinical sites for Coast students earning their certificates and licenses to practice as respiratory care therapists. Weber sits on OCC's Respiratory Care Advisory Committee, and worked with Riggio at Hoag Hospital for many years.
"We are pleased to give back to Saddleback Memorial, who several years ago provided their employees on loan as faculty to OCC's respiratory care and Golden West College's nursing programs," says OCC Vice President of Instruction Kevin Ballinger. "More importantly, we are eager to help the community with critical care equipment during this national crisis."
OCC's Respiratory Care program is a two-year program that prepares students with the knowledge, skills and behaviors of respiratory care practice as performed by a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Students who complete the program are the healthcare professionals that evaluate, treat, and manage patients of all ages with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders. One of the main responsibilities of OCC's respiratory care graduates in the care of the critically ill patient is management of the ventilator (breathing machine).