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MATC respiratory therapist heading to New York City to help treat COVID-19 patients

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A MATC instructor of respiratory therapy is heading to New York City on Sunday, April 19 to help treat COVID-19 patients. 

"They're telling me it's very, very desperate," Mike Christman said. "They need staffing there now."

Christman said he's always wanted to help.

"It will be taking care of the COVID-19 patients for sure," he said. "Whether being on the ventilator or before they go on the ventilator, triaging them as they come in, putting them on oxygen, that's the biggest therapy for them."

Christman is scheduled to get to New York City on Sunday and will begin working on Monday.

"It's a hard decision to make and I even inquired about helping out in this [southeastern Wisconsin] area, but staffing is good right now which is a good thing," he said.

A recruiter is helping make arrangements for Christman. He will most likely be working in a hospital in Brooklyn.

"There's this fear of the unknown a little bit," he said.

Busy hospitals are nothing new to Christman after working at Froedtert for 10 years, but he says this is different.

"They're telling me that our normal work-load of maybe five or six ventilators, therapists there are managing eight to 10 to 12 ventilators," he said. "Life and death situations are being triaged at the bedside, whether you can react to this patient in cardiac arrest or not and that's kind of unbelievable to think of."

While in New York, Christman will continue to teach his MATC students virtually. He said it is not known how long he will be out there, but it could be anywhere from four to six weeks. 

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