COVID-19: Respiratory Failure

We are interrupting our regular q2weeks cases with this bonus case for use in an in situ simulation setting for testing your emergency department’s response to acutely unwell patient’s with suspected COVID-19. This case was written by Drs. Alia Dharamsi, SooJin Yi and Kate Hayman who are academic staff emergency physicians in Toronto. This case has been used widely at a variety of community and academic EDs in the Greater Toronto Area to facilitate departmental preparedness.

Twitter – @alia_dh + @soojinder + @hayman_kate

Featured image used under creative commons licence by Pete Linforth via Pixabay.

Why It Matters

Outbreaks of novel respiratory illnesses occur with some regularity (e.g. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)). With world travel being a modern reality, disease spread can happen quickly requiring careful infection control practices. COVID-19 (aka 2019-nCoV) was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since been declared an outbreak by the WHO (see THIS link for further information).

This well developed simulation case provides a way to test and improve systems in place for infection control, PPE, and management of exposure to COVID-19 or any high risk communicable respiratory illness.

Clinical Vignette

A 35-year-old woman became febrile last night with coryza and woke up acutely short of breath with productive cough, rhinorrhea, and a subjective fever. She presents to triage where she screens positive for potential coronavirus exposure due to fever, respiratory symptoms and a high-risk travel history.

Case Summary

This case was designed during the January 2020 COVID-19 outbreak in order to assess and improve team preparedness for safely and effectively caring for a critically ill coronavirus patient from triage through to intubation.

Download the case here: COVID-19

Find the directions for the props here: Props for COVID-19

Video of the nasal secretion prop:

ECG for the case found here:


(ECG Source:

CXR for the case found here:


(CXR Source:

POCUS for the case found here:

(POCUS Source:

9 thoughts on “COVID-19: Respiratory Failure

  1. Thank you Dr. Alia Dharamsi, Dr SooJin Yi and Dr Kate Hayman
    It was very nice of you guys to thought and share the resources.
    It will help prepare the guys to combat the menacing pandemic.
    Keep spreading the awesome work
    Good Luck,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s