top of page
  • Writer's pictureRichard Cree


Bank Holiday Monday 25th May 2020

Figures for 24rd May

UK COVID Deaths 116 / Total 36,793

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 223

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 41

James Cook Critical Care COVID cases – 7 / 6 ventilated

James Cook Critical Care non-COVID cases – 32 / 10 ventilated

I’m back working on the sole remaining COVID ICU today and I am happy to report that every patient is showing some signs of improvement. This has rarely been the case over the past two months and is most welcome.

For some of the patients the improvement is not surprising. There are always some patients that once you manage to halt the progression of their illness, they will start to get better and will continue to do so. These are often our younger patients without existing medical problems. COVID-19 has turned this expectation on its head. It has proven to be a very unpredictable disease and at times, it seems that all bets are off.

It makes discussions with the patients’ families quite difficult. There is a tendency for the average ICU Consultant to come across as somewhat pessimistic when discussing patients progress with their families.

This is not without good reason. Our patients are so much sicker than the patients on the ward that it makes it difficult to try and predict what might happen within the next few hours, let alone the next day or so. Sometimes we think we are helping families be realistic by remaining suitably vague and non-committal when asked about what we think might happen in the near future.

We live in fear of giving what we might call ‘false hope’ to relatives. We are also fearful of being ‘wrong’. We worry that not being able to accurately predict what might happen may make us look incompetent and undermine any confidence that the family may have in us.

I have come to learn the hard way that this is not the case. I am more honest nowadays about the things that I don’t know. If I do make a prediction I am not afraid to add that it may be completely wrong. I will recognise my own hope that things will improve despite evidence to the contrary and I will not be afraid to acknowledge that a patient has improved for fear that the improvement will not be sustained.

Today was a day that I practised what I have just preached. One of our patients is quite elderly and has been extremely unwell for a number of weeks. Today he is better and I take the opportunity to make sure I tell his family this. It is of course, too early to tell whether this improvement will continue. There is only a small chance that he will ultimately survive but it is vital for the family to realise that this chance exists. They need to understand that we will continue to do our best for their loved one even when we know the odds are against us.

5,358 views5 comments

Recent Posts

See All


26th October 2022 Total UK Deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate – 205,843 (up to 20 May) James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 976 All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 71


14th August 2022 Total UK Deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate – 195,962 (up to 20 May) James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 938 All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 91 J


9th June 2022 UK COVID Deaths –Daily average 80 Total UK COVID Deaths within 28 days – 177,977 Total UK Deaths with COVID-19 on the death certificate – 195,962 (up to 20 May) James Cook Hospital – Tot


May 26, 2020

Thank you fir your commitment and dedication. It certainly outs everything else el into perspective and reinforces stay at home and alert because unfortunately we are going to get a 2nd wave x


May 26, 2020

must be so horrendous having to update relatives on a virus thats so new and so unpredictable , we as the public need to realise this too , i think its perfect to say to any relative that theres not enough known yet as to how their loved one will react to treatment , our medical staff are just wonderful not just through this virus but every single day of the year , thankyou to each and every one of you , i love your updates every day , may this nightmare soon end xx


May 26, 2020

Honesty, Empathy and Hope.

A great combination of Drugs Doc

Well done


May 26, 2020


We can’t ask for more than that.

Thank you for everything you do 🌈 👏🏻


May 25, 2020

The responsibility you all have for patients’ lives - and their relatives - is something I cannot begin to imagine. I don’t think I’d ever sleep again!! I am a podiatrist and that is enough health responsibility for me!

You are all amazing💙

bottom of page