Treating Coronavirus Patients

“The male predilection for this disease is becoming clear, particularly in severe disease. 90% of the referrals I receive today for unwell new patients are male, as are 80% of those ventilated. Tonight at home I remind my furloughed husband that he must avoid unnecessary outings, keep an even wider berth on his runs, and when doing the supermarket shop to wipe down the trolley handle, and wipe down all products before he puts them away.” Kerri Baker, Pandemic Diary of an Acute Physician, Wednesday 1 April 2020.

 

Practitioner Mental Health

“Morale is immediately a worry. Despite an empty hospital, the preparatory workload is already overwhelming. I set up a multidisciplinary consultant WhatsApp for our hospital. Medics, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists rapidly sign up. Although it may be used to share questions and ideas, the primary aim is teambuilding. We need, rapidly, to build trust and friendship across all specialties and equally rapidly abolish silos. Next week we will be working side by side, caring for the same patients.” Kerri Baker, Pandemic Diary of an Acute Physician, Week commencing 16 March 2020.

 

Changing Work Routines

“Today is a hard day, and it has been a long week – staying late at work every night just to try to keep abreast with the rate of change, troubleshoot, and support. We are working more closely with management than ever before; traditional roles are eroded. The furious preparations continue – shuffling and reshuffling, design and redesign, hard lines built and overcome, endless cycles in the course of each day.” Kerri Baker, Pandemic Diary of an Acute Physician, Thursday 26 March 2020.

 

Access to PPE

“Debate about PPE rages. We have little choice; accept the limited PPE we have, or none at all. I spend my day off sourcing supplies. There are none, but I manage to secure a set of scrubs after 30 minutes on hold. The customer advises me that most are sold out, but scrambles to find a set in an appropriate colour that, sewing skills allowing, I may be able to adapt to a rough fit. I gratefully accept.” Kerri Baker, Pandemic Diary of an Acute Physician, Friday 27 March 2020. 

 

Treating Non-Covid Patients

“One (patient) is a young man with crashing acute renal failure. He was discharged a month ago after a complex admission, on new medications, the likely culprit for his AKI. Like many other patients, he is now frightened of the risks of hospital, and has presented very late. We know him from his recent admission, and feel frightened and guilty that he has waited this long to come in. He is transferred immediately for dialysis. Where are our other patients, our regular attenders? Are they ok?” Kerri Baker, Pandemic Diary of an Acute Physician, Monday 6 April 2020. 

 

Public Response to Coronavirus

“I arrive home at 8.15pm; at 8pm the entire country held a “clap for your NHS” event. The news and social media are filled with clips of the public in their gardens, balconies and windows, cheering and clapping and singing for us. I missed this, driving home on an empty motorway, but still shed a little tear at the outpouring of support. Despite this, I have for the first time come home feeling a little defeated. Maybe the tears are more than emotion at “clap for the NHS”. Maybe, I hope, I am just tired.” Kerri Baker, Pandemic Diary of an Acute Physician, Thursday 26 March 2020.

 

Lockdown

“In order to take some control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation I looked at ways we could stay healthy as a family. I started to run to work (it’s only a mile, and I can change into scrubs at the other end – I’m never letting the scrubs go!), simplified our shop (cut out processed food, shopped local where possible, and reduced the availability of gin! I seem to have spent most of lockdown in the kitchen cooking from scratch, baking with the children or making every type of bread. Our daily exercise adventures for to our local beach and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the local walkways has been a godsend and kept us all sane – outdoor school was always more successful. I’ve always been keen to lead a healthy lifestyle and lockdown provided the space to make this lifestyle work for the family, but they were missing their friends, and getting angry about their loss of freedom.” Susannah Tappin, Reflecting on effects of Covid 19 on my work as a Locum GP.

 

Looking to the Future

“Despite the national incomprehensible losses and waking up to an unrecognisable post-lockdown United Kingdom, I see opportunity ahead for those able to access it. I am hoping that many more people will now be aware of the need for behaviour change, personal and societal, and am ready to do my part going forward.” Susannah Tappin, Reflecting on effects of Covid 19 on my work as a Locum GP.