It’s been a while, a few months since I was last on social media. I moved to Intensive Care at Harrogate District Hospital in March 2020 as the first wave of COVID started to hit the hospital, as the year passed I had to ease back on fundraising as I needed to focus on my NHS work and on keeping body and soul together – a battle we are all fighting.
I worked on ITU 2009-2014 it was therefore something of a homecoming for me to return. It was an extraordinary time to rejoin the team but then life must surely be punctuated by the extraordinary to feel fulfilled.
For nearly a year, the incredible people on ITU have cared for the most critically unwell patients in the hospital. They have carried out this work alongside staff redeployed from theatres, wards and indeed my old friends in endoscopy. Throughout this time I have been both amazed and incredibly proud to be one of a group of people who genuinely put the patient first in every decision.
A few days ago, I was on shift when the decision was made to cease active interventions on a patient . The most important point in this story is who made the decision – the patient. Her stay in Intensive Care was protracted with minimal improvement and over the last couple of weeks it had become clear that she was not going to rally any further. Our job was therefore to make sure that her decision (made after extensive discussions between senior medical staff and the patient and family) was respected. After an evening spent talking to family and saying goodbye, appropriate medication was given to prevent distress and then respiratory support was stopped The patient was then accompanied by a kind, caring and empathic colleague as she died with dignity.
This is just one story of thousands that could be told by nurses up and down the country. It is worth recounting here because of the incredible compassion I witnessed from both my medical and nursing colleagues. Certain moments define key experiences in our lives and I wish this to be the moment I hold on to for times of COVID.
Here is a very short film from a BBC crew made on the Unit last week. These are the people I am proud to call colleagues – and friends.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who continue to support my Médecins Sans Frontières fundraising project. As mentioned earlier, I had to back off from active fundraising for a while (first time in 11 years) yet many kind and generous people have continued to donate to Doctors Without Borders. Last week the total hit £110,000 which could not go unacknowledged. I am now very much back and ready to move forward with the work to help Doctors Without Borders care for the most vulnerable people on the planet. Thank you all for your ongoing support .
You are MSF.