Jump to content

On Britain's COVID-19 frontline, medics and patients fight for life


Recommended Posts

On Britain's COVID-19 frontline, medics and patients fight for life

By Paul Sandle, Natalie Thomas

 

download.jpg

A nurse monitors COVID-19 patient Victorita Andries, 50, in the HDU (High Dependency Unit) at Milton Keynes University Hospital, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Milton Keynes, Britain, January 20, 2021. Picture taken January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville

 

MILTON KEYNES, England (Reuters) - At Milton Keynes University Hospital in England, it’s a battle between life and death. For those most ill, death is gaining the upper hand.

 

The latest COVID-19 wave has hit the hospital northwest of London with even more force than the first: younger patients fill its wards and fewer of the sickest people respond to treatment.

 

Doctors and nurses are grappling with the strain of exhaustion and loss.

 

Joy Halliday, consultant in intensive care and acute medicine, is in charge of a high-dependency unit for COVID-19. It is a step down from an intensive care unit (ICU), and severely ill patients there are receiving CPAP oxygen.

 

Stephen Marshall, 68, is one of them. After testing negative for COVID-19 following a recent operation on his back, he initially thought he had a cold.

 

“I should never have left it, it’s just made it worse,” he said, speaking through a mask pumping oxygen into his lungs.

 

“I’m on oxygen all the time now,” he said. “I seem to be holding my own at the moment, so touching wood,” he added, lifting his hand to his head.

 

Halliday said that with visits curtailed, the doctors and nurses were supporting patients emotionally as well as medically.

 

“I can only just imagine how difficult that is for family at the end of the telephone to be told that their loved one is getting worse ... or they’re agitated or their oxygen levels are dropping,” she said.

 

“It’s difficult for us to see and it’s even more difficult for them.”

 

The youngest person in her eight-bed unit is 51-year-old supermarket worker Victorita Andries. She was put on oxygen immediately when she was admitted five days ago.

 

“The machine for me has been good,” said Andries, adding that she felt positive about the future. The oxygen levels in her mask are gradually being reduced as her condition improves.

 

The youngest person being ventilated in the hospital is just 28.

 

The official death toll from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom is 93,290, the highest in Europe and the fifth worst in the world after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico. 39,068 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospitals. Deaths rose by a record 1,820 people on Wednesday.

 

INTENSIVE CARE

 

In the ICU, where all seven patients had COVID-19, the quiet is interrupted by machines bleeping and oxygen pumping.

 

Wassim Shamsuddin, clinical director for anaesthesia and intensive care, said the patients were receiving mechanical ventilation, which requires sedation.

 

“This time around what we’re finding is that patients aren’t faring as well if they need to be invasively ventilated,” he told Reuters.

 

“Our mortality probably in the first wave for patients coming onto intensive care was around 40%. This time around we find that the mortality is about 80%.”

 

He explained that unlike in the first wave, all COVID-19 patients in the hospital now automatically receive remdesivir and dexamethasone after they were found to be effective.

 

That means that those who end up in ICU during the second wave of the pandemic are more likely to be the sickest patients, because they have not responded to those treatments.

 

Shamsuddin added that he did not know whether a highly transmissible new variant of the disease found in the UK also contributed to higher death rates.

 

He said intensive care staff, who have been boosted by medics and nurses from other wards during the pandemic to maintain one-on-one care, were not used to such high levels of death.

 

“At the moment we’re just all keeping our heads down and just getting on with it,” he said.

 

“Intensive care hospitals are meant to be a place where we treat patients and make them better. The difficulty here is that even though we try our best and we throw everything at the patients, it just doesn’t seem to be working.”

 

‘DEATH EVERY DAY’

 

Joe Harrison, chief executive of Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said the hospital had seen more than twice the number of patients in the second wave than the first, and currently had 186 patients with COVID-19.

 

“We believe that over the next week or so, we’re going to continue to see real pressures in our critical care unit,” he said. “And then hopefully we will turn the corner and things will start to improve.”

 

He found it “absolutely inspirational” to see how the medical staff had dealt with the pressures that COVID-19 had brought since it first surfaced in the country early last year.

 

Back in the high-dependency unit, Halliday and other staff managed to forge close bonds with the patients, despite having to wear full protective gear and interact from behind masks and visors.

 

Patient Geoffrey Winter, aged 70, called the care he had received “fantastic”.

 

“Two of the nurses were cleaning my feet this morning; I felt like Jesus,” he joked.

 

But Halliday echoed the view that it was tougher this time around.

 

“It’s draining. It’s draining physically. It’s draining mentally,” she said.

 

“It’s difficult to keep going on a day-to-day basis for staff, just to see death in death out, every day.”

 

reuters_logo.jpg

-- © Copyright Reuters 2021-01-21
 
  • Sad 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I would LOVE to see any government that actually gives news about how to get your immune up to point... 

 

nah, that will never happen, personal responsibility of your own health, while there is a pill for every ill

  • Confused 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I see where they're thinking of paying people in the U.K. 500 pounds if they test positive for covid (to encourage getting tested) - just hope it doesn't lead to people purposely getting infected by licking elevator buttons and escalator railings..

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Reuters. Says it all . Everyone is wearing masks some don’t just like in Thailand . The U.K. is fine . I say fine as in no worse than anywhere else . At least the government here are far more transparent that the laughing stock in charge of Thailand . Put your Brexit bad and Boris bad man away into a box for now and get a grip. 
 

And remember where the best vaccine option is from and probably the one vaccine everyone in Thailand will prefer. 
 

I have spoken. 

Edited by goldenbrwn1
  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/22/2021 at 12:43 PM, Chomper Higgot said:

The viral (pun intended) social media messages promoting COVID denial, Anti-Vaccine conspiracies, anti-mask pseudo science and other COVID conspiracies have a part to play in this.

 

I have a life long friend in the UK who has been fanatically  posting these topics on her fb account, no amount of reasoning had any effect on the nonsense, often dangerous nonsense, she posted.

 

She stopped posting when her mother died of COVID and her husband, who probably infected her mother, nearly died of COVID.

 

These online social media campaigns have not arisen by chance, they coordinated and targeted at the U.K. population. Likewise the US population and the population of other western nations.

 

Thailand has not been so targeted hence very little resistance/mistrust amongst the Thai population.

 

 

My daughter has also lapped up all these conspiracy theories also - pushed on them by her fundamentalist Christian church. It will take a few deaths of close friends/relatives to give her a wakeup call. It has strained family relationships. I saw the writing on the wall for the Covid-19 pandemic 12 months ago, there was enough information to see what would happen back then - unfortunately too many western governments were reluctant to bite the bullet, and have suffered the consequences. In the UK, i did some number crunching and if not for the vaccines, the UK death toll could easily exceed that for Spanish flu  by the end of the pandemic - might still get there, as still some way to go. New strains may make the vaccine less effective. Also globally this pandemic will almost certainly last until 2022 at least. I expect this coming summer the media will be full of claims the virus has  been defeated, just like last summer. Reality can be a bitch.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, rickudon said:

My daughter has also lapped up all these conspiracy theories also - pushed on them by her fundamentalist Christian church. It will take a few deaths of close friends/relatives to give her a wakeup call. It has strained family relationships. I saw the writing on the wall for the Covid-19 pandemic 12 months ago, there was enough information to see what would happen back then - unfortunately too many western governments were reluctant to bite the bullet, and have suffered the consequences. In the UK, i did some number crunching and if not for the vaccines, the UK death toll could easily exceed that for Spanish flu  by the end of the pandemic - might still get there, as still some way to go. New strains may make the vaccine less effective. Also globally this pandemic will almost certainly last until 2022 at least. I expect this coming summer the media will be full of claims the virus has  been defeated, just like last summer. Reality can be a bitch.

Few and far between the nut job conspiracy theorists are . They had a protest not  long ago, maybe be a few hundred attended.  Be optimistic we are in this together on a world wide level . Some countries governments want to hide the real numbers for whatever political reason , some like the U.K. can’t .  The U.K. is on the frontline of this battle . Whatever the thoughts people hold for Boris and co , UKPLC is leading the fight. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...