London news 'People are dying every day we hoped would make it' says Northwick Park doctor Uk news
MetiNews.Com - 'We've had fathers and sons and husbands and wives on the same wards'
Breaking News ! Sign up to FREE email alerts from MyLondon - MyWestLondon NewsSubscribeWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid EmailThe coronavirus crisis in London's hospitals is splashed all over the internet and TV at the moment, but there's a lot of misinformation about So MyLondon spoke to a respiratory (breathing) expert at one of London's busiest hospitals to find out what it's actually like on the wards trying to treat patients who are struggling to breathe every single day. Dr Rachel Tennant is a 49-year-old respiratory consultant who works at North West London's Norwick Park Hospital. Currently she's doing 70-hour shifts in the hospital without time off. Normally she would be doing 40. There are 500 Covid patients at the hospital and it's fast running out of space. 'Last week was extremely difficult' Daily Dr Tennant is treating very sick patients rushed in on ambulances from across North West London, often very short of breath, with a fever and diarrhea and she has to try to get them breathing normally again and hopefully save their lives. But for every miracle she and her team can work, Dr Tennant says there are at least one or two patients each day they thought they could save who just don't make it. Speaking to us after a completely exhausting shift, but sounding remarkably calm, Dr Tennant says: "Last week it was extremely difficult offloading ambulances because we just didn't have enough space in the hospital and that was really concerning. In some cases we were having to divert patients to other hospitals. "But it's very worrying when people have to wait on ambulances because they come in sicker than they would otherwise have done. Wednesday and Thursday and Friday last week were the most concerning. She slams rumours circulating on social media about hospitals being half empty. "This really is truly an unprecedented situation. We are about five times as busy as when we're facing normal winter pressures," she says. "Infection levels are very very high and we're now seeing people who got ill just after Christmas time. Many of them need help with breathing. "People are coming in really gasping for air with very rapid shallow breathing. and you're trying to help them to breath. They often have very tight chests and a fever and sometimes diarrhea. "Often their lungs are horribly inflamed. We're having to try to get them lying on their tummies and give them oxygen. 'A perilous situation' "I've never seen the system so absolutely overwhelmed like this. We haven't been able to deliver our normal standard of care for a long time. We can't give the level of reassurance or compassion you would want to provide and we can't do the number of safety checks we would normally do. It's really quite a perilous situation." Dr Tennant works on a ward level between intensive care and the Covid wards where she and her team deliver Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy. This provides oxygen through a tightly fixed mask rather than intubating people by putting tubes into their chests, and its been found to have a much more positive outcome and to be more comfortable for patients. "It's better than the patients being intubated because the patients can have breaks and talk and eat.
. But the conditions on the ward are almost impossible. 'Hot cramped and claustrophobic' "Typically there would be four patients in a bay but we've got 10 patients in a bay where there would normally be four. That means it's hot, cramped, claustrophobic and dark and really quite scary. "We would normally have a nurse caring for two patients but now they have maybe five to care for with help from a medical student or other helper. These are not normal ratios." "It's quite dehumanising because the staff and patients all have masks over their faces and there's lots of equipment and tubes around and you've got to remember you're dealing with human beings sometimes and try to give them that personal compassion. "Some patients are very stoical and don't seem to realise how ill they are, some are desperately afraid and we try to do or best to reassure them. and to learn about each patient and their families and their lives, but that's much much harder at the moment and you feel you can't give them the level of care that you could in normal times." 'The numbers have shot up since last week' As to when the hospital hit this second wave crisis point, Dr Tennant says: "The numbers really took off again from mid December. We now have about 500 Covid patients across Ealing Hospital and Northwick Park and that has shot up from last week. (It was about 400 then). The worst time was last Thursday and Friday at the end of last week but it's just eased off a little bit since then. "We're now seeing the effects of the relaxation of the rules over Christmas. We haven't yet seen the impact of New Year as there's always a delay of ten days or so. We think it will be like this for the next week or two but then hopefully it will start to calm down a bit. We have to just pray that people are taking this seriously and following the rules so we can all get to see our friends and family soon." There's also been a lot of comment in the media about how burnt out staff are but how true really is it? Dr Tennant is under no illusions. 'If you don't give more, people are going to die' "The staff have been at breaking point for most of the year. You feel you can't give any more of yourself but you realise if you don't give any more, people are going to die. "People are suffering from all the signs of stress and burnout, but maybe it's one of the silver linings of Covid that we learn to just keep going. People accuse us of being the snowflake generate but it's amazing what you can do when you really have to. Many of our junior doctors are just not getting the training they should be and are doing extremely long shifts. This will be the making of some registrars though and they will probably be dining out on this in 30 years time and telling people about how they coped with it. They are building resilience and teamwork ad gaining experience." So once she's clocked off from her 70 hour shift at the hospital, how on earth does Dr Tennant relax, especially when she's got a son to look after. "It's very tough outside work because you can't see family and friends which are a great source of support, but I've found a lot of solace in sharing jokes and chats with WhatsApp friends and on Zoom calls," she says. "I'd like to give a particular shout out to my camping friends who we usually meet up with in the summer. They have been absolutely amazing in helping to keep me going. "And there's good camaraderie with my colleagues at work and a kind of black humour. We're not stuck at home and we've got good jobs and we've got an income so that puts things into perspective.
Source = MetiNews.Com