Keimoneia Redish was a 40-year-old mother of five who suffered from asthma. When she experienced breathing difficulties, her partner took her to a hospital emergency department. Testing there showed that her carbon dioxide level was above normal at 57 mmol/L and that her pH level was 7.28, which is below normal and indicated mild hypercapnia and acidosis. Hypercapnia is a condition of abnormally elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the blood. Acidosis is a condition in the blood that causes the pH level to fall below the normal limit of 7.35.
Although steroids and other treatments over several hours were administered, Redish’s condition did not improve. She was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, where an attending physician intubated her and placed her on a mechanical ventilator.
Her carbon dioxide level and pH remained stable but still out of range of normal. A pulmonologist later examined Redish and recommended that she continue the ventilator but also add Ketamine, which is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. The pulmonologist indicated that if Redish’s condition did not improve, general anesthesia to relieve her bronchospasms would be recommended.