In January 2021, Alex Day, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital was redeployed to University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) to help care for patients with Covid-19.
Alex described the experience as humbling and one he won’t forget. Here he shares his experience:
“On my first day at UCLH, I was met by a consultant hand surgeon who was also helping out. I was shown where to change and how to put on the required personal protective equipment (PPE), there was lots of it.
“I worked in the UCLH main theatres, each theatre and anaesthetic room had been turned into intensive therapy units (ITU). I was in the recovery area that was now an ITU ward and was allocated to a previously healthy male in his early 60s who was ventilated for Covid-19 pneumonia.
“My role was to support the ITU nurse who had other patients to look after. I was taught how to do all the observations (including ventilator), blood gases and helped draw up drugs for the drivers and make adjustments. The ITU doctors explained what I needed to do, like how to put in a central line.
“My patient arrested in the afternoon and was successfully resuscitated, unlike a patient a few beds down. At times it felt like you were just standing still while the world was running around you, but you were never left out of your depth; I was encouraged to take breaks after difficult moments and food was donated by local businesses.
“It was truly a humbling experience and a show of incredible team work with people from many hospitals turning up to help whatever hours they could spare. Everyone was grateful for your time.”