This article comes as a warning and a wake-up call to those who do not take the severity of the situation we currently find ourselves dealing with to heart, or think the regulations are some conspiracy theory and need not be adhered to.
COVID-19 cases have now reached a pivotal point within the Newcastle community and have erupted since last week. As a result, thereof, overworked Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are now treating patients in-home as medical assistance calls are ever-increasing. Simply put, people are getting sicker and sicker.
This increase in stress and strain is not only felt by EMS personnel but hospital staff as well. Hospitals are seeing more and more patients being rolled in, resulting in medical staff being pushed to the extent whereby clinical psychologists are now helping them deal with the additional pressure.
The stark reality is; the second wave of the pandemic, driven by ignorance, is placing immense pressure on frontline workers. Speaking to Mediclinic Newcastle and ER24 EMS, the Newcastillian – Online News establishes just how things have changed over just the past week.
Hospital General Manager of Mediclinic Newcastle, Japie Greyling stresses there has been a dramatic increase in patients with the COVID-19 situation intensifying. At the moment, the hospital has a large number of COVID-19 patients. Looking at the influx of cases, Greyling views the cold truth and says, “So many people are not complying with the safety regulations. They are not wearing their masks, or don’t wear it properly, not sanitising or practising social distancing.”
This is placing a strain on the medical sector in more ways than one. So much so, Mediclinic Newcastle now has three councillors on site, rotating shifts in order to be available for the medical staff. He says, “It is an emotional time, especially when the nursing staff and doctors lose patients.”
However, Greyling affirms, Mediclinic Newcastle is fully prepared for the second wave, running on muscle memory after enduring the first wave’s sudden onslaught. “During the first wave, we had a total of 65 staff diagnosed with COVID-19, and now we only have had two.” This shows that medical staff are taking extra precautions to remain safe.
As the hospital combats the virus, Greyling says ER Consulting Inc is doing a tremendous job in ensuring the hospital’s emergency room runs efficiently. However, he points out, due to the increase in patients, Mediclinic Newcastle has made part of the Day Ward available for an overflow of patients. This, while increasing resources and allocating staff to help those in the Emergency Room.
Willem Rossouw, branch manager of ER24 EMS, adds that when EMS staff take patients to the Emergency Room, there are times where they need to wait for up to an hour. This he says, resonates just how busy the medical sector currently is.
He adds, “The ban on alcohol has helped bring some relief to both the hospital and EMS staff. But we start looking at alternative medical facilities before taking a patient into hospital, as their rooms are becoming fuller.”
Rossouw stresses that while hospitals are facing enormous difficulties, so are EMS staff.
He elaborates on the process when attending a scene, explaining, “Before approaching a scene, we have to screen a patient.” This is to establish if the patient has the coronavirus. By confirming the patient’s status, the EMS staff can then dress accordingly to minimise their chances of contracting the virus.
Furthermore, Rossouw highlights that EMS staff are finding their vehicles becoming portable hospitals in a sense. “We are getting more calls and finding people are getting sicker, but because hospitals and GPs are getting busier, there are times where we treat people at their homes.”
Coupled with the above, Rossouw states EMS staff are using more oxygen on patients than before—this being due to a higher number of patients struggling to breathe. Fluids are also being consumed at a higher rate due to the new strain’s symptoms, vomiting, and terrible diarrhoea, resulting in dehydration.
As with staff from Mediclinic Newcastle, Rossouw says paramedics are enduring excessive stress. “They are becoming more concerned, as a lot of medical staff are getting ill and dying. It is hitting closer to home now.”
With the above reality check in mind, the question now stands, what does Mediclinic Newcastle and ER24 EMS feel Newcastillains should know?
Rossouw begins, “People know what they should know by now. But there is still a sense of ignorance about the existence of COVID-19. People need to sanitise, wear their masks, practice social distancing and avoid mass gatherings. The virus is real.”
Greyling urges the community to keep healthcare workers in their prayers while showing patience when visiting the hospital for any medical practitioner. “We request people to remain calm, as we want to serve the community as best possible.”
He also reminds the community that medical staff are working long hours, and a small thanks goes a long way. But most importantly, Greyling urges the community to contact their GP immediately if they show any symptoms of the contagion, not leaving it for too long.
With this in mind, Pixelfish Marketing and the Newcastillian – Online News salutes the healthcare sector and hopes you will take this significant issue seriously.
Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer