Respiratory Therapist/staffing issues


Mr Wical,
    If the only therapist at a facility is removed from his/her campus where there is a positive pressure device ( Vapotherm or Bubble CPAP) running, only to be sent to another campus (2 miles away), to help cover "in case" there is an emergency at the second campus, is that a legal/ethically responsible act? There are no other individuals at the first campus who could troubleshoot the devices. I have grave concerns over the safety of my license and the neonates whom are on the devices.  Thank you, Jeannie

Hi Jeannie,

Thank you for entrusting me with your respiratory therapy question. Your question is a combination of legal/ethical/clinical concerns, so my answer from the legal aspect will be strictly an opinion, as I am not really all that educated on the specific legal staffing requirements in health care. But I will say to pull an RT from a site that DOES have a patient on a non-invasive form of ventilation, to a site that merely MAY have some kind of patient at some point, seems absurd to me. Especially considering we are talking about the safety of fragile Neonate patients. If I personally were given this command by my Lead RT, I would have requested we conference-call our Clinical Manager right then and there...who is very pro-patient safety and would have said no way are we going to leave this CPAP patient unattended. It is your license on the line if you willingly leave that patient to go staff another area with no patients, so you had good reason for concern. I hope this help.

Best of luck,

Larry, RRT

Respiratory Therapist

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators ("Respirators") - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

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Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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