Moravian Messenger July 2020
P. 1

JULY 2020
moravian messenger
From the front line
Greetings from a partially eased
lockdown: I write in the middle of May and the situation may be different by the time you read this. I hope my brothers and sisters are safe and well despite restrictions.
Most of you will know that I am a doctor and have been a consultant in Emergency Medicine (casualty) for the past 26 years. I currently work in Whitehaven on the Cumbrian coast. As Covid-19 began to spread our work dramatically changed: attendances were half their usual daily numbers or less. However, for each patient, whatever their symptoms, you needed to put on a basic surgical mask (like the ones you see people wearing in the shops), a disposable apron and gloves. The mask causes fear amongst young children and is very difficult for those with hearing problems who rely on lip reading to some degree. No one could come in with the patients apart from one parent with a child. That also caused
difficulties as there was no collateral history for some patients and this is more difficult to ascertain over the telephone.
We were able to divide the department into separate areas and for those suspected of Covid-19 were seen in a separate contained area and each cubicle was thoroughly cleaned by a special team after each use. In this area a more substantial mask was used and at times the visor or goggles and for very serious cases a gown or white disposable suit under the apron. This got very warm and I find I can only wear the mask for a couple of hours.
Each time you take off the apron, gloves and mask you need to wash your hands. Even for a patient with a small limb injury you may need several sets of this PPE (personal protective equipment) and so several hand washes. This also happened each time I needed to review a patient with a junior colleague.
© Sr Claire Summers
I want to share with you a Monday evening shift several weeks ago and tell you about five patients I saw in the Covid- 19 or hot zone in the department.
The first man almost certainly had Covid- 19. His wife had died the Thursday before and he had typical symptoms. He also had multiple other medical problems and would not have been a candidate for going to the intensive care unit and being put onto a ventilator. Wearing a mask, I had to discuss this with him and also talk about a 'do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation' decision: he would have had all other care offered to him. 'I've just got to take my chance then' he said to me as my gloved hand held his. He died a few days later and the staff in our department were angry at this case as the couple's grandson in his early twenties had been visiting and they felt he'd led to the death of his grandparents within a week of
each other. continued overleaf
Finally: Arrival in Nain
(page 90)
Hornsey's Restoration
(page 91)
Growing Up in World War 2
(pages 92)
Helping the Foodbank at Harlesden Methodist
(page 93)

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