Cape Town - As the country enters the coronavirus fourth wave, emergency centre staff are exhausted and need the public’s help this festive season, in particular to ensure that the emergency centres (ECs) at hospitals across the province and the country keep running.
New Somerset Hospital emergency medical specialist Dr Roger Dickerson said staff, who have shouldered three waves of the virus and are now at the start of a fourth wave, are still passionate about their work, but the passion was waning after three waves of Covid-19.
He said that during the festive season EC staff have four broad groupings of patients.
These are patients with known medical conditions, those with acute Covid-19 illnesses and acute surgical problems such as a burst appendicitis, but top of the list were trauma cases.
Trauma includes accidental injuries such as car accidents and non-accidental injuries from interpersonal violence which range from gunshot wounds to stabbings and assaults with blunt objects.
“You can help us to provide better care for yourselves. You can do that by managing your chronic conditions. Take your medication. Do the tests that you are supposed to do to look after your chronic condition. If you are going to drink, do so responsibly and don’t drink and drive.
“I think tired is probably the biggest understatement. We have a responsibility not only to our patients but to our colleagues, and it is that camaraderie that got us through the first three waves and will get us through another, and another and another.”
Dickerson was speaking at the launch of the province's EC festive readiness plan at the New Somerset Hospital on Tuesday.
Head of Health Dr Keith Cloete said the emergency services were an integral part of the department’s festive season planning and even before Covid-19 staff leave during the holidays was always restricted as that was the time they became most visible.
Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, who launched the EC festive readiness plan initiative two years ago, said the point of the plan was to be proactive.
She said the launch was staged at the New Somerset Hospital because, as a regional level 2 hospital, it was the first port of call for both public and private patients around the Metro and even took cases from as far away as the West Coast