• Richard Cree

Shampoo & Set

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

Wednesday 6th May 2020

Figures for 5th May

UK COVID Deaths 693 / Total 29,427

James Cook Hospital – Total COVID deaths – 199

Things have been very different at work of late. There are more people about, more healthcare assistants, more nurses, more physiotherapists, more pharmacists, more dietitians… Well, you get the picture. There is more chocolate in the coffee room. Lots more chocolate. In fact so much chocolate that we will all have type 2 diabetes before too long. Hopefully the pandemic will over by then or we’ll be even more vulnerable to the virus.

The other thing that is obvious is the amount of equipment to be found lurking in the corridors or bursting out of storerooms. Some of it is useful, but other items have been left lying around 'just in case'. There is a neonatal ventilator that has been sitting outside the office for the past month. We haven’t had cause to use it yet as we have had enough of our adult ventilators. It’s quite new but has a powder blue 1950’s Jetsons-chic that I really like. Apparently it’s able to ventilate adults as well as babies - indeed there are three settings: one for grown-ups, one for children and one for the tiniest of individuals like neonates or Sister Pugh. As our numbers of COVID patients are falling it is to be ‘stood down’ and sent back to the neonatal ICU.

However, I came across the most bizarre bit of new kit only the other day. The ventilated hood systems that I and a few others wear need to be disinfected after use. The recommended way of doing this is to rinse them in a chlorine solution and leave to dry. The trouble is that drying them can take hours and if you need to be back in the ICU before then you end up breathing in an uncomfortable amount of chlorine. Whilst hardly resembling a World War One gas attack, it is enough to make your afternoon in PPE even more unpleasant than usual.

I was at an infection control meeting a few weeks ago discussing just this. One throwaway suggestion for drying the hoods quickly was to use an old fashioned hairdresser’s hood hairdryer, the sort you sit under with your beehive. How we laughed at this suggestion and yet, walking down the corridor as you leave HDU, there it is!

I’m not sure how many people are actually using it but I thought I had best give it a go. At least now when I remove my PPE, I look like I’ve just stepped out of a salon…

Am I done yet?

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