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  • Richard Cree

Cruel

Saturday 30th May 2020

Figures for 29th May

UK COVID Deaths 324 / Total 38,161

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 231

All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 34

James Cook Critical Care COVID cases – 4 / 2 ventilated

James Cook Critical Care non-COVID cases – 38 / 15 ventilated

Nicky was on-call again last night. Sadly, two more of our ICU patients have died. One of the patients had not been with us for long but the other had been with us for nearly a month. He had just begun to show some signs of improvement before rapidly worsening to the point where we could no longer help him.

I have highlighted before just how fickle and unpredictable this disease can be. It’s hard to get across how demoralising it is for us to care for some of these patients over the weeks whilst feeling almost powerless to stop the effects of the infection. We may then see a faint glimmer of hope emerge as there is some improvement only to be followed by a devastating deterioration which the patient can’t survive. As hard as it is for us, the burden on the family cannot be underestimated.

The families have often been told day after day just how precarious the situation is. We have had many telephone calls where they have been told there has not been any improvement and have been told how worrying this is. They have been informed just how small the chance of survival is, over and over again. They have told us how they have spent sleepless nights worrying and waiting for a telephone call to tell them the worst has happened.

After this ordeal it is hard to imagine the sense of hope that must emerge when we tell them that their relative has made some improvement. Despite our warnings that such improvement may not last, they begin to believe that survival might be possible, only for all that hope to be cruelly dashed when they are told that the situation has worsened again. Unless you have been through something like this, it is difficult to comprehend the extent of this ordeal.

Only earlier this week I had written about how a significant number of the patients on the COVID ICU had been improving. We have had a number of success stories over the past week but after the last couple of days it feels hard to remember them and the mood within Critical Care has been very subdued.

Nicky and I are now on leave for a week. We are very much in need of a break and need to spend some time together with the children. I will keep an eye on things at work and continue to post intermittently every few days. As much as things are beginning to quieten down at work, we would rather be beginning our week off on a higher note than this.

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