‘I’m more worried about contracting the virus from a colleague than a patient’

Yesterday was a lot more intense than final week, and day-after-day we go into work issues are altering and progressing at a fee of knots – particularly by way of our ever-increasing capability to tackle new sufferers above and past what we’re usually in a position to.

The grownup ICU is full and we’re steadily filling up the paediatric ICU. Next, we’ll be repurposing our working theatres as overspill Intensive Care areas, that are already vacant and awaiting. Of course, performing operations means filling ICU beds, and so we stopped all surgical procedure a while in the past in preparation.

It’s not a state of affairs I ever dreamt about in all my years as a perfusionist. A standard grievance from carrying the PPE is the often-intense warmth and humidity, stress sores on the face from the masks that many people expertise – bridge of the nostril and cheekbones significantly, to not point out the fatigue and complications.

I’ve not been having complications however I’m definitely getting stress sores and feeling the warmth. Some nurses are placing silicone-based materials on their noses to assist cut back the stress sores.

We’re additionally seeing a rise in occupational dermatitis on palms from utilizing alcohol gels and washing more often than ever earlier than – we gel our gloves between sufferers, however generally if you’re not carrying gloves you’re washing our palms shifting from one space to a different exterior of the crimson zone.

Everyone is acutely aware that mild switches, door handles, pc keyboards may carry an infection. Some members of my division have been affected and have needed to self-isolate because of illness; staffing ranges amongst perfusionists are at present okay however I don’t know about the wider nursing workers.

As I’ve stated earlier than, I’m most worried about selecting up the virus from a colleague than I’m from a affected person; one’s guard tends to be down when not in the crimson zone. That stated, we’re all doing our greatest to keep up social distancing even in work.

ECMO is coming beneath the highlight like by no means earlier than as the pandemic progresses and since Boris Johnson has been admitted to one in all the commissioned grownup ECMO centres; if his situation worsens, the medical doctors caring for him have the most proficient and superior life-support measures out there.

One of my roles as a scientific perfusionist managing the ECMO circuit is now changing into more well-known – as perfusionists we aren’t usually concerned in the progress of the total affected person pathway, our work is generally centered in theatre and intensive care (out of the limelight).

Most of our sufferers, once we come into contact with them, are anaesthetised. We are at our capability with ECMO circuits and more {hardware} is being loaned to us in an effort to stretch that capability past what we’ve ever skilled.

Some of it’s coming from different hospitals that aren’t deemed to be “Covid-dirty” hospitals and a few being loaned from the producers straight. We have had a particularly beneficiant non-public donor whose cash has gone on to the buy of 1 ECMO machine, at no small price.

At the second it’s a bit like shopping for books and studying them – we’re gathering more sufferers than we’re processing; a very small quantity have been weaned both from air flow and/or ECMO, however we’re nonetheless about mid-way in the upwards curve of the pandemic and it’s very troublesome to grapple with numbers at the second.

My out-of-hours work is stepping up considerably, and has necessitated me being out and about effectively over my contracted hours to retrieve sufferers from locations from throughout London and additional.

Normally we’d retrieval from throughout the south of the UK, however our present sample of retrievals is specializing in London, a reflection on the proven fact that the highest variety of virus transmissions is going on in the capital – corresponding with inhabitants density and social habits. Stay house!

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