MATC respiratory therapist headed to COVID-19 hotspot will teach while managing ventilator treatments

MILWAUKEE -- FOX6 News on Sunday, April 12 spoke with a Milwaukee Area Technical College instructor headed to the coronavirus hotspot of New York to help treat COVID-19 patients, while, at the same time, continuing to instruct his students in Milwaukee.

Mike Christman

Mike Christman, a respiratory therapy instructor at MATC will head to New York Tuesday, April 14 to help manage ventilator treatments while also teaching students online, offering insight into what it's like in the hot zone.

"I'm hoping some of our students will be inspired by this," said Christman.

It will be some of the most important work Christman has ever done.

"I'll be managing the ventilators and doing floor therapy for COVID or non-COVID patients, whatever the need is just in that area," said Christman.

He will relieve health care professionals who have been facing the brunt of the pandemic.

Mike Christman

"I think of those therapists out there that are fatigued, and I know what that's like to work a long shift with very critical patients with no end in sight, and it's daunting," said Christman.

As of Sunday, April 12, there were more than 180,000 confirmed cases in New York, and more than 9,000 deaths.

"There is a fear that I'll contract the disease," said Christman. "I'm hoping with all the N95s, and they're telling me there's more protection out there, that I'll do everything with infection controls in mind to be safe."

He will continue to teach his students online while treating patients in the hot zone. Christman said he wants to motivate his students to continue in their important line of work.

"A lot of ventilators, a lot of intubated patients, a lot of very sick patients that are hypoxic or in need of oxygen, and there's not a lot to do for these patients, which is kind of scary, in my eyes," said Christman.

The MATC instructor said he's eager to use his expertise to save lives.

"It's inspiring to see so many people going out to help, and I hope I can alleviate some of the stress that they're going through," said Christman.