Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeCOVID-19Cowardice and hypocrisy – a dispatch from the Covid front line

Cowardice and hypocrisy – a dispatch from the Covid front line

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I WOULD like to describe the last 16 months from the point of view of a critical care nurse; I also did some work as a community nurse last year. My views differ from those of most NHS workers I come into contact with.

Community nursing was already a disaster. Nurses get lists of up to 30 visits per nine-hour shift, with more coming in hourly. No staff. Constant stress. But then came the ‘pandemic’, if that’s what it was, the peak of which was April 8, 2020.

Once the pandemic was declared all but essential visits stopped. Families took over wound care, B12 injections ceased, carers took on basic nursing roles to keep district nurses out of care homes, and so on.

Swathes of staff were redeployed to the district nurse teams, and spent most of the time in base. Several cried for much of their stay.

Early on most nurses accepted the situation but as months passed the mood changed and they wanted to get back out there, particularly as GPs had all but deserted their patients. If this was a battle, the GPs turned and ran.

Care home fax machines spewed out DNACPR [do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation] notices and statements of intent for all residents whether ill or not, fit or not. (A statement of intent is a form completed by a GP that states a death is expected, and if it occurs outside surgery hours the doctor will issue a death certificate within the next 14 days. It also removes the requirement of contacting the police. This statement and DNACPRs do not necessarily go hand in hand but often do.)

A carer could now ring a GP and say that a resident had become unwell or was deteriorating and end of life (EOL) drugs would appear. The GP would not visit and assess, and unqualified carers would declare a resident ‘Nil by Mouth’ and for palliative care. When a nurse finally got to see the resident he or she may have been starved for days and was very grateful when the carer was ordered to give nourishment and fluids.

Carers are not nurses but they can have dubious intent just like some nurses we can recall. When family are not allowed in for months on end, who’s to know?

GPs began working from home, or from their cars parked in their surgery car park. They would refuse to enter care homes to ‘protect their family’, as one declared.

There was even an attempt to verify a death with a carer over the phone. The doctor must have been terrified when the manager stepped in and demanded he attend.

Cowards. GPs were not brave. One hoped they would lead the charge in the battle on the home front, but not so.

Then the dying began.

Regular ‘customers’ began to die, but not of Covid. More and more calls would come in informing us that ‘Betty’ had died, then ‘Ronnie’, then ‘Frank’ . . . all long-term patients. Loneliness was killing them. 

We knew it. These people had gone from being part of a community: nurses, doctors, physios, family, to suddenly seeing no one.

Other patients died ‘with’ Covid, not many ‘from’ it.

No prophylactic medications or treatment was ever considered to my knowledge.

Comically, nurses were instructed to socially distance from each other and in houses/care homes. Yeah, right!

Not possible.

Also, while GPs hid and quivered, we saw patients whilst having no PPE.

It seems now that the NHS is nothing more than thousands of people indulging in cosplay (dressing up as their favourite characters from film or TV) mistaken for actual healthcare workers who, when asked to actually advocate for patients, turned out to be nothing more than Mr Benn – just wearing fancy dress.

We were instructed by the PM last year to prepare for the worst: every family would lose a member, get used to the daily sight of funeral cars, NHS prepare for the ‘Wave’.

I never saw this. Sure it was a bad few months but not exactly the movie Contagion. Some staff were so pumped they almost appeared disappointed when their job became easier.

Whilst some healthcare professionals have worked hard throughout, even above and beyond, almost all have bought into the government line and applied no critical thinking or done any research.

This has been the great disappointment. The cognitive dissonance is startling. 

All have had the vax but still agree with anti-social distancing. Still agree with masks. Still agree with lockdowns. But get angry and upset at patients dying of loneliness.

A vaxxed colleague returned from isolating and said I should have the jab.

‘If it’s not a vaccine and just dampens symptoms why do I need it?’

‘So you don’t spread it.’

‘But apparently I would still be able to spread it. You’d just be ill not dead. I can spread it with or without the jab. It’s only me at risk.’

‘What?’

‘You’re young with no comorbidities, why do you need it?’

Shrug.

‘How does it work?’

Shrug.

It’s the same in my trust’s hospital where nurses and doctors care greatly about their patients but clearly cannot extrapolate that responsibility outwards beyond the hospital doors.

If you are critically ill, nurses and doctors can be ace. Need to fight a tyrannical dictatorship? Hmm, not so ace.

It’s a big ask I know but now’s the time. Maybe years of being bullied (that’s how the NHS manages its staff) has crippled most people.

Instead nurses, physios and others are signing up for extra pennies by giving injections of a vaccine they know nothing about.

And doctors. This is the shocker. Turns out they’re either not that clever, couldn’t care less or are corrupt. In other words, no different from anyone else. Except when given positions of real power. Then they can be dangerous. They must see the lies and yet the ones I work with tell everyone to get jabbed, wear a mask etc. 

The NHS should never have this power. When someone claims to know what’s best for you, run!

I love nurses and am saddened that they have failed the test of their lifetime. Very few are cowards, though, just blind, unlike GPs, who are cowards first and foremost. 

The NHS is now a religious body with its members needing guidance from above.

Neither medicine or religion should run a country. 

When either does you get Britain today.

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Damian Karras
Damian Karras (pseudonym) is a Band 5 nurse working in the North West of England.

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