Consultant anaesthetist Andy Mackay says his hospital is – so far – coping but fears another surge in the days ahead.
The impact of winter illnesses mixed with the rise in Covid-19 patients has kicked in at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow and staff worry that this will rise with patients infected following the easing of lockdown at Christmas.
In London, colleagues have put out an SOS for staff as they struggle to cope with what the new variant Covid throws at them while Dr Mackay, lead clinician for critical care at QEUH, had just finished a 12-hour shift where 30 patients were fighting for their lives – 10 of them with Covid.
He said: “We expect that number to increase after the relaxation in lockdown. There are people out there with their families who will not be alive next month.”
The hospital’s 20-bed unit soared to 200% capacity with Covid patients in the spring and, since then, treatments and survival rates have improved.
Dr Mackay said: “We have learned how to lower the chances of people becoming seriously ill by giving them dexamethasone to reduce the impact on lungs and kidneys, use continuous positive airway pressure oxygen and roll patients on to their fronts to help them breathe.
“This allows us to head Covid off at the pass, so to speak, for some patients, but by no means all.
“Our worry is that over the next week or two there will be a rise in hospital numbers from pre-Christmas infection.
“It could mean we are in for a very rough time in January and February. Staff are exhausted and, while we support each other, it is clearly not all about us. We get through by thinking how many lives we have saved.
“I see people on social media saying that they don’t know anyone who has died…and I reply that I have seen dozens.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe