By ERIC HAYWOOD-FARMER
ER Physician, Royal Inland Hospital
I THOUGHT I’D WRITE A POST to let you know what’s going on “behind the scenes” as we prepare for the health care challenge of our lives.
Right now, our ER is almost eerily empty. Many people are picking up on the messaging to STAY HOME and out of our department, so our patient volume is actually a bit down right now. The city, the country, seems to be holding its collective breath. This gives us the most precious gift of TIME. This preparation time is essential. Our administration teams and department leads are using this time to tap every resource available to prepare for the tsunami that is coming our way. Meeting after meeting to bring together incredibly complex logistics, ensuring no stone is left unturned.
Our frontline staff are learning on their feet. At the start of every shift, we are briefed on the new developments for the day. Sometimes this happens several times per day. We are perfecting isolation processes, rearranging physical space, working towards creating essentially two separate hospitals inside one.
After our shifts, we are digesting literally dozens of emails per day with updated processes, directives, plans. We are also working hard to bring ourselves scientifically up to speed — listening to podcasts, reading the newly-published articles that are flying off the press, to learn as much as we possibly can about this new beast we are facing.
What can you do to help out? The Globe and Mail assures me that this weird toilet-paper hoarding behaviour is due to the need to control an uncontrollable situation. Here are two things you can control that are actually helpful:
1. STAY HOME. Seriously. Every bit of time you spend not interacting with people in the community buys US a bit of time to prepare to help you. Keep it up. When the novelty starts to wear off, double down.
2. Donate blood. Sounds, weird, I know, but the blood banks are running low, transportation of blood around the country may be seriously impaired by flight cancellations, and we need a continuous supply. If you have to leave home for one reason, let this be the reason. Think of it as the day’s entertainment.
(3. In brackets because I’m sure it doesn’t apply to you: STOP STEALING OUR F***ING MASKS. There is a special place in hell for mask-stealers.)