A 43-year-old woman with no prior medical history presents to an emergency
department with cough and fever and is treated for bronchitis. She returns
3 days later with dyspnea and a chest radiograph reveals bilateral lower lobe
opacities. Progressive respiratory failure leads to hospital admission and
ultimately to intubation and mechanical ventilation. For intensivists around
the world, this scenerio is not an uncommon presentation for patients diagnosed
with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The only difference is that
this patient with ARDS has the additional history that she "recently returned
from a trip to Hong Kong China" and therefore has severe acute respiratory
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