Monday, March 30, 2020

In Scone we've been given the proverbial hospital pass

Scone, NSW, one of many Australian towns with no ICU

We are ill prepared for covid19 yet we really ought not to be in this position when you consider that our state and federal governments have known this was coming since January this year. 
The message from China could not have been clearer.
In fact early on in the covid19 crisis, the federal government even called the “pandemic” for what it is today but then they all went off for a nap. 
Essentially, our political leaders wasted February despite the fact that they knew that this disease  came with a high mortality rate.
March saw a complete breakdown in both border-security and bio-security with the Ruby Princess docking in Sydney, then being permitted to allow all passengers to disembark and melt into communities across Australia, unbelievably underpinned by the arrival of many air travellers doing much the same with vague promises that they would ‘self-isolate’ … oh yes of course.
And so today we suffer unintended consequences 
(a) because of the rising rate of covid19 cases, and,
(b) because our leaders did not order in ample amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) for nurses, doctors, ambulance personnel and police, nor vast amounts of testing kits so crucial in flattening the dreaded curve. 
Our governments should have been ready but they were not and many deaths that were arguably preventable may inevitably eventuate. 
So now we have been informed that it is up to us to do our bit to socially distance ourselves in order to minimise transmission, and that we need to be deadly serious about this strategy given that it is really the only one left in the box now. 
We need to quarantine and self-isolate ourselves as though our lives depend upon it because they do … and if we do need to go to the shops or the doctors or the hospital, we need to maintain a 1.5 metre distance from people we meet at those places, we must not sneeze or cough on them, and we must keep on washing our hands and wiping down supermarket trolley handles. 
Basically, we need to drastically curtail outings and stay home.
It is worth bearing in mind that Scone hospital does not have its own doctors per se but is staffed by doctors from Scone Medical Practice. There are no intensive care beds at the hospital and there are no facilities to care for ventilated patients for more than a few hours.
If the system is overwhelmed people will die in our hospital because we do not have the resources to look after them. 
Prior to the covid19 pandemic, patients who required further treatment other than treatment Scone Hospital could provide, would be transferred down the valley but if hospitals in Maitland and Newcastle are at capacity because of the covid19 crisis, access to their units will be blocked because they will be full.
Wondering how our public health system, which is already stretched to capacity, will respond to the covid19 pandemic has left me 100% certain that we need to quarantine (or self-isolate) ourselves as dedicatedly as possible … because if we do not do our bit we are on track for our hospitals to be completely sunk.

Please stay home.