Friday, 10 April 2020

Caring and Compassion

As a counterpoint to yesterday's blog about anonymous critics complaining about a care home in Glasgow helping a dying man's wife to visit her husband - here's an uplifting story from The Times which reports on hospital staff doing exactly the same thing.

I take my hat off to all the care staff and nursing staff involved   because they did the right thing in refusing to listen to the naysayers and anonymous, armchair critics. 



Coronavirus victims: ‘Doctors gave us ten minutes . . . we just told him that we loved him’

Sue Martin with her husband, Mal, who was taken to intensive care last month

By David Brown - The Times

A woman has told of the heartbreaking moment that she and her teenage children, wearing full protective clothing, gathered at an intensive care bed to say goodbye to her husband, who has Covid-19.

Sue Martin, 49, a civil servant, begged to be allowed to visit her husband, Mal, 58, for a final time.

“We had to be in full protective gear. We weren’t allowed to touch him but we could speak to him. Essentially we were going in to say our goodbyes,” she said.

Mrs Martin told their children Hana, 16, and William, 13, that it was a personal choice whether they visited their father, with no right or wrong answer. Both wanted to see him as they had been unable to hug him before he left for hospital because of his infection.

“They let us have ten minutes with him. It was like he was just asleep. He had so many tubes and wires in him,” Mrs Martin told Today on BBC Radio 4. “We just told him that we loved him and it was heartbreaking to hear the children tell him they were going to make him proud. We were really glad to have that time with him.”

She had been told by doctors that Mr Martin, the chairman of a recruitment company in Cardiff, had “zero chance” of surviving. Yesterday he was still “holding on to life”, offering the family a “glimmer” of hope.

He became unwell a day before Boris Johnson announced the lockdown. He initially only had cold-like symptoms but by the following morning could not get out of bed and had a temperature of 38.8C. While he was self-isolating in the family home his wife tried to contact the NHS’s 111 service but was cut off each time after being left on hold for 82 minutes.

Ten days after the first symptoms emerged, Mr Martin’s breathing became rapid and he was taken to hospital. His wife assumed it would be a brief stay to give him oxygen but hours later she was told he had been put on a ventilator and that there was a 50 per cent chance he would die.

The family used Facetime to speak to him in hospital while he wore an oxygen mask and struggled for breath. “We just told him how much we loved him and I said how much I was really sorry that we hadn’t sent him in earlier,” Mrs Martin said. “He promised he would fight it. He said to my daughter, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to be around a while yet and be here for your wedding and for you both growing up and see William play rugby for Wales’.”

Mr Martin has type 2 diabetes and suffered a heart attack four years ago, but otherwise he has had a “very healthy” life, his wife said.

The couple, who married in 1996, have exchanged text messages since he was hospitalised. “He said it wasn’t his time, that he missed me too much and that he was coming home,” she said.

When doctors tried to wean Mr Martin off the ventilator he deteriorated further. His kidneys failed and he was placed on a dialysis machine.

“They were giving him a maximum level of adrenaline to keep his blood pressure high enough to pump his blood round to his organs, and said that he was on the brink, and that they couldn’t do anything more for him,” Mrs Martin said. “I’m so, so grateful for all the hospital are trying to do for him, risking their lives to try to save his. They have been wonderfully supportive, compassionate and empathetic in such difficult times.”

On Sunday, a week after Mr Martin had been admitted, his wife was called by doctors to say there “was almost zero chance he was going to survive”. A nurse said that she would stay after her shift had ended so the family could make a final visit.

“We fully expected Monday to be his last day,” Mrs Martin said. “And then Monday, miraculously, the consultant said there had been a slight improvement.”

She added that the doctors made it clear he was still “extremely, desperately ill” and that there was almost no chance of him recovering, but she had not given up hope that “just maybe, he might turn a corner”.

Mixed Messages on Coronavirus (09/04/20)

The Daily Record appears to have lost the plot over its coverage of Coronavirus with two separate news reports on Wednesday which are way wide of the target if you ask me. 

The first piece criticises a care home for allowing a wife to visit a dying husband - even though this is within the Scottish Government's safety guidelines. 

Seems to me that a care home, where all the residents are in single rooms, ought to move 'heaven and earth' to enable a close family member to see a loved one who is at the end of their life, even if the person involved has to comply with stringent safety measures. 

So where does the newspaper get off in using an anonymous complainer, a retired nurse (allegedly) who no longer works at the home, to criticise the staff and management for their act of basic human kindness. 

The second piece 'threatens' care home bosses with prison if they don't protect staff and residents which is fair enough.

Yet the article has nothing to say about the problems in securing PPE for thousands of Home Care workers in Glasgow City Council, Scotland's largest council by far, who have been campaigning to wear face masks - both for their own protection and to safeguard their clients.

Scots care home 'allowed wife to visit dying husband' despite 16 coronavirus deaths
The visit happened against the wishes of staff but government guidance allows "end of life" visits despite the lockdown being in place.