NHS doctor’s emotional plea from the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic is truly heartbreaking

Louis Staples
Tuesday 24 March 2020 14:30
news

In a moving and stark warning, an NHS doctor has issued an emotional appeal to members of the public as she urged them to stay indoors to “prevent further avoidable deaths."

Dr Katie Sanderson, a junior doctor in Acute Medicine, pleaded with listeners to "stop and think before leaving their house" during a segment fo BBC Radio 4.

She told the show she had been “reduced to tears in the work loos” after seeing pictures of “huge crowds on Clapham Common and Highbury Fields” and people queueing for shopping “unsafely” across the country.

Shockingly, she said she was now forced to ask Covid-19 patients and their loved ones whether they “want to die in hospital or at home.”

Last week our A&E completely transformed and is now seeing large numbers of patients coming in every day. 

I’m having conversations with patients and families of patients asking if they want to die in hospital, where we’re not allowed to have visitors, or if they want to die at home.

They’re conversations that last week I cannot have imagined having.

Even if this is not the situation in hospitals outside London yet, things are going to evolve incredibly rapidly there and what I would say is; don’t think about hospital bed numbers, intensive care, capacity today. 

Think about where we will be tomorrow, the day after, next week.

I love my job and I want to spend the rest of my working life working in palliative care, looking after people who are dying. Healthcare workers have chosen to devote their working lives to looking after the sick and the dying.

We will look after your relatives with compassion, with care and love

Dr Sanderson has also asked for companies or entrepreneurs to supply mobile phones for free to hospital patients who are isolated, and unable to talk to their families. She then issued a desperate plea to members of the public to stop and think about how they can help others.

She said:

What I want every single person in this country to think this morning – is how we can have not a single further preventable death or preventable transmission of this infection and that doesn’t involve waiting for further clarification of the guidance, somebody cannot tell you what to do every 

I want to join my voice with voice of Boris Johnson – which is not something I thought I would say – and say please don’t think about the mistakes we have made, please start the clock again.

It is the 24th of March. We can make sure that there is not a single further preventable death that could be your mother, it could be you.

There are healthcare professionals in intensive care now who are my age – I’m 32. Please, please, please don’t spend your time talking today about mistakes that may have been made just think about what you can do to save lives.

The plea comes as tighter restrictions are introduced across the UK. After lots of people ignored the government's social distancing guidelines, police have been given the power to fine people who congregate in groups or leave the house more than once a day (except for exercise or to purchase essential items). Key workers, such as health workers and supermarket workers, are still expected to go to work.

Read the latest Covid-19 guidelines here.

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