COVID-19: we will get through this together!

21st March 2020
Dr Andrew Denaer

For doctors, nurses and allied health professional in the NHS life has suddenly changed. We’re spending our time pre-occupied with preparations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Cancelling elective work, converting clinics to telephone only, finding room for extra ITU capacity. It’s extraordinary and beyond any of our experience. 

I’m also a husband, a father and a son. Like all of you I’m worried about my family, especially my 83-year-old father. I’m worried about passing the virus onto them, but of course I look forward to getting home at the end of the day. The thought, that at some point, I may have to choose to stay in accommodation away from them is really worrying, how I will I cope with the separation? The support of my wife and kids is so important in dealing with stress.  I’m sure you have similar concerns.

One of the things that gets us through at such times of adversity is teamwork. It’s so important we all work together. In the cath lab at Bart’s today we all did our bit, we weren’t looking after COVID patients but it was on all of our minds. At our end of day debrief everyone was really positive. We’d had a good day, a good mix of cases; three needed cardiac surgery, two had stents and one had normal vessels. There were no complications or problems and one lovely, elderly lady had an amazing infectious smile even after her PCI and stent! So, all were happy with the day and we thanked each other and left work feeling remarkably cheerful, perhaps momentarily forgetting about the days ahead.

I’m sure others can share inspirational incidents amongst the potential gloom of the pandemic. In this blog I will share my experiences and thoughts over the next weeks and months. I also want to tell your stories, so I am asking staff members across the NHS to send me your uplifting anecdotes and photos because, if we pull together and support our peers, we will get through this.

Please send your photos and stories to @DocDeaner.

About the author
Dr Andrew Deaner is a Consultant Cardiologist at King George Hospital in Ilford and Bart's Heart Centre in Central London. He is the Head of the London School of Medicine and has been an NHS consultant since 1996.