Notes from the frontline staff – COVID-19 Pandemic

Things are insane right now, for the average person. People are finding it so hard to deal with simple requests like STAY HOME. People are going about their business with their heads up their bums acting like this isn’t THEIR problem. The world is crashing and this is not the time for stupidity. It isn’t the time to pretend like it’s the Christmas bloody holidays. Things are awful. People are DYING and we need to do our part to try and help prevent the spread of the virus. The best advice I’ve heard is act like as if you’re infected – in other words, do everything you can to NOT continue infecting other people because you don’t know for certain as not everyone shows symptoms.

It’s scary for me, having had multiple surgeries, being on lfe support and in ICU with pneumonia, I’m not certain that I’m fully healed from things – I get chest infections really easily. Worse for me is that my son was born with a suspected collapsed lung and he is VERY prone to croup and respiratory infections. We are now staying home as a family. Luckily our jobs enable us to continue to work remotely so there isn’t the worry that so many people have at the moment. I’m thankful for that. I’ve never been alive to see the entire world so consumed with the same thing – this pandemic affects every single person on earth. It’s terrifying being alive to witness this. I imagine the feeling is similar to what people experience in times of war. Just overwhelmed, anxious, panicked, fearful, helplessness. I didn’t ever imagine this, as I imagine none of you did either.

In spite of how worried I am for my own personal safety and the health of my loved ones, I am acutely aware of the fact that there are people at the front of this war – fighting hours on end with limited supplies to save the lives of other people. Those people are the heroes.

My friend is one of those people – working tirelessly at the forefront of this battle – this is the story from the battle field.

Notes from the front line – The Medical Professional

Three weeks ago this corona virus was a joke in the UK. We were fit tested, this means we are tested that the mask we wear has a good seal and we know how to place a mask on our face. We get 30 minutes x3 to make sure it fits well. But as of last week we ran out of these masks.

Due to global demand we had to test a new mask, but the jokes and laughter had gone by this stage, it was no longer a pipe dream or a far away problem, but now something that was knocking on our door.

To be honest medical staff didn’t know how to deal with it personally and professionally, it’s uncharted grounds. We heard it was taking off in Italy, but we were expecting it to rip across Europe before reaching us. But it was with us faster than we expected.

We currently have 9 ITU patients. We consider ourselves lucky so far.

We held a bunker meeting on 19th/3/2020, our capacity is good, all elective surgery is off including cancer patients. Protocol changes have been made to vascular surgery, it’s no longer viable to try and provide circulation to a leg and spend weeks in recovery, it is now amputated and removed.

The ward criteria has now changed, it is no longer 28% requirement for medical review for chest infections, it’s now 50% and over, so far we are able to meet demand, but if it gets too overwhelming, we are to place 20-50 year olds with no co mobilities as top of ITU list .

Theatre staff are to be trained in ventilators ( it takes up to one year to be good at running ventilations as ITU staff) , but in case ITU staff currently get sick, it is these staff groups that will take over. There are only 30,000 ITU staff to take care of a population of 70 million.

In my current hospital,

We have 12 full huddled visors, the rest are mask only. The difference between mask and visor is how well you can make a seal around your face. Due to me being a bearded guy, I have to wear a full hud. So the hospital I work at serves 1.8 million annually. We have 12 masks, 3 of which have broken in the first week, our masks are problematic, the batteries only last between 2-5 hours.

The masks have not been properly tested and no one has the time. I sat a class about putting on PPE and taking off PPE, very fast it came apparent that PPE was poor. We asked why, we were told there is nothing else, they can’t acquire anything else.

Problem is not the equipment, it’s a two grunt issue, we can’t get enough, secondly, what was designed to be single use, now had to be repeatedly used by staff over and over and over again.

In essence if one medical staff contracts it , it will then be passed on due to staff having to use equipment from previous shift to an extent. We’ve been told that due to this, it’s likely some staff will get sick, however this is one thing that can’t be resolved. 50 masks have been ordered but it unknown when they will be delivered…

I will continue to share updates as I receive them.

It’s a dire situation and people’s loved ones are risking their lives. Don’t be a fucking asshole. Stay the fuck at home and stop spreading the virus because you think you are fine. Wash your hands, stay at home, don’t touch your face, WASH YOUR HANDS, cough into your elbow, STOP travelling, cancel parties, do not attend weddings. In fact, don’t attend ANYTHING that is not essential. We need to to fight this together.

 

How to protect yourself and others! 

Go to WHO for more information!

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