Updated: Jun 21
Saturday 20th June 2020
Figures for 19th June
UK COVID Deaths 173 / Total 42,461
James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 251
All COVID cases within South Tees Hospitals Trust – 12
James Cook Critical Care COVID cases – 2 / 1 ventilated
James Cook Critical Care non-COVID cases – 36 / 22 ventilated
I was back in ICU last night but things remain calm. The COVID patient that we took off the ventilator on Thursday remained able to breathe by himself and has not needed to go back on the ventilator. We have not seen any new COVID patients admitted to Critical Care for a few days now and numbers within the Northern region continue to fall. The Newcastle hospitals only have one Critical Care COVID patient whilst the Teesside hospitals have four. Surrounding hospitals are not reporting any such patients within their ICUs.
We had a departmental meeting yesterday which was the only time that all the ICU Consultants have managed to get together in person over the last three months. During that time there has not been much time available and we have been limited by social-distancing recommendations. Yesterday we were able to use the hospital lecture theatre to ensure we could all safely gather in one (very large) room.
This was an opportunity for us all to reflect on what has happened over the past three months. We are now able to take a step back and look at what we have achieved. We managed, within a very short space of time, to ramp up our capacity to be able to meet the huge increase in demand. Staff experienced unprecedented working conditions but everyone gave their very best. We are very proud of what, working together, we accomplished. The standard of care we delivered remained very high throughout and even with the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think we could have done much better.
Another reason for the gathering was so that we could say goodbye to one of our Consultant Colleagues who is leaving to take up a post at another hospital. The move is for family reasons and had been arranged prior to the pandemic.
Andy’s introduction to the department was not what any of us would have wished for. Very soon after taking up his new Consultant post at James Cook, Andy took part in the Great North Run. Straight after completing the race, Andy suffered a cardiac arrest due to an abnormal heart rhythm. Fortunately, the emergency medical tent was just yards away where two of his new Intensive Care Consultant colleagues were working. They had the unenviable honour of having to resuscitate their new team-mate. No pressure there then! Luckily, everything went as well as it possibly could and Andy went on to make a complete recovery. He was able to recommence his new job a few months later.
Andy has been with us for three years now and all of us are very sorry to see him go. He very quickly became an integral part of Critical Care. The pandemic has brought us all closer together and I have had more opportunities to work with him than I had before. I will miss his competent, level-headed approach but even more, I will miss his very entertaining, dis-inhibited sense of humour. I and my colleagues really wish he could stay.
Andy modelling an autographed, particularly ‘unique’ set of donated scrubs