The deathly reality of Covid-19
Hello. I am a junior doctor working in a busy London hospital that is full to the brim with Coronavirus. Was going to make a video trying to speak this but I’m too angry and sweary.
As sunny days come I cant help but notice on my journey to and from work, that people are strolling the streets with a coffee and friends, they are sitting in parks on picnic blankets, and markets are opening up again.
I understand that it is hard to stay at home; its hard when you’re stuck in with children, or all alone, or when the sun is shining. Your Coronivirus experience has been spent feeling trapped and worried and restless indoors.
I want to tell you about ours, because judging by the number of people out and about, the only kind explanation is that people are unaware of what a living hell it is to be working in an NHS hospital at the moment, and that they are unaware of how brutal this virus is.
As a junior doctor on a Covid ward my days are spent mainly calling families to tell them their loved one is going to die today, I listen to their tears and begs to be able to be with them, and I have to have to tell them no. I try to time manage my work well so I can sit with my patients as they die. Then I call their relatives back and tell them that their loved one is dead. That’s the easy ones; the hard ones are young patients. They are for full resuscitation and intubation and high level care on ITU. But we ran out of ITU beds last Tuesday and there is a waiting list to get in. So I flog them to the best of my ability on the wards and watch them, like fishes out of water, until they either get to the top of the list, or they have a cardiac arrest and die. And then I phone their families.
And I don’t even have it that badly.
Our ITU nurses are the real troops in this war, they are awe inspiring, and they are suffering.
The nurses I work with are surgical nurses, used to knee replacements and hysterectomies, they have had emergency training on non invasive ventilation and having to work as ITU nurses on wards, they’re terrified but doing their best. Our cleaners didn’t sign up for this; but here they are, in PPE and on minimum wage sterilising my keyboard.
My consultant colleagues have to decide who will get a chance to live and who will likely die. When patients are admitted to hospital a decision on whether or not they are “for ITU” or for a “ward based ceiling of care” has to be made, this avoids futile suffering and ensures precious ventilators are available for the people who are most likely to survive if put onto one. I often look at their signatures on these admission sheets and feel so relieved that I do not have to play god in this way.
We are here to look after you, and your family if you need us. I am doing this with all of my heart. I have sat with strangers holding their hands as they die, laced with guilt that I can’t fix them and that I am there in place of their daughter, or wife.
We are doing this and will continue to do so with PPE that we don’t entirely trust, we are putting our own health, and the health of our families at risk. We will continue to do this because it is our jobs and we care.
So do something for us please. LISTEN TO GOVERNMENT ADVICE AND STAY INDOORS. Because as long as this virus is being transmitted WE WILL ALL STAY IN THIS LIVING HELL, please, let us out. We all want life like this to end, but none more than front line health care workers.
We have all given so much to you, and we will continue to. Please now help us. I hope you never have to see what we are seeing every day. PLEASE STAY HOME.
[And… to the group of people who arrived to DeBeauvior square on Saturday with picnic blankets and ice box full of Corona beers/accompanied laughter – there is absolutely nothing ironic or funny about that. Nothing. I wanted to shout at you as I walked past, but feared I would either swear or cry, and didn’t want to do either in front of my children]