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The ugliest face of Covid-19

covid19

Care homes have, without doubt, shown us the ugliest face of Covid-19. And yet, I wonder, when the inevitable enquiry comes, will the medical profession be honest with itself, bold enough to look inwards and discuss the thought process and actions which sprung forth?

There were decisions being made around residents of care homes very early on that terrified and saddened me. Of all of the medical decisions that I have witnessed in this pandemic, the approach to the elderly and care home residents has literally given me nightmares.

I listened to Matt Hancock tell journalists at the daily briefing that there was no blanket rule to refrain from escalating care home resident's care to hospital if needed, or to put in place DNARs. And I know that wasn't true. I don't know if he was lying or just didn't know. But he wasn't right.

I had conversations with colleagues who described elderly patients who likely had Covid and were deteriorating and so they were 'being made comfortable and difficult conversations had with relatives'. I had online discussions with colleagues asking why they didn't send the patient in to hospital. There was a strong chorus of disbelief that I would even ask such a question. Replies along the lines of: 'Really? You think a frail 82-year-old would do well on a ventilator?' I was roundly mocked. I doggedly made the point that the stats were still strongly in favour of that 82-year-old surviving and they may just need oxygen support. Not everyone needed a ventilator. What if it were your mum? Your grandpa?

Were we all so blinded that we bought into the idea that this particular patient cohort would take a 'valuable' bed?

I was sent copies of the 'frailty score' which was being used as a delineator of who should and shouldn't be sent to hospital. That the CCG were handing down instructions on just this very issue. And of course, the CCGs felt supported by the NICE guidance on using the frailty score for deciding who gets critical care.

I was reading tales of GPs who were instructed to go to their care homes and put in place DNAR forms across the majority of residents. And we are seeing reports of Midazolam prescriptions doubling in care homes during lockdown.

We now have firm evidence of the excess cancer burden caused by knee-jerk and blanket decisions that closed departments and withdrew treatments. I can't help but feel that we will uncover the same regarding blanket decisions about care home residents and who should and shouldn't be escalated to hospital in Covid.

And now I'm left with almost identical questions all over again. Who has the right to make the decisions for individuals whom were not necessarily ready to die, who would have wanted hospital treatment given the choice, even a ventilator if it came to that? And I don't think for a second that any colleague made these decisions glibly or easily, but I do wonder at the value we place on someone who is 'frail', who is elderly, who lives in a home, who has dementia. I know this virus represented unprecedented times; decisions were made quickly; the Government did a great job of terrifying the nation, from members of the public though to doctors.

Did we then make unpalatable decisions in the midst of this terror? Were we all so blinded in the headlights of Covid, by the Government message that the NHS was/would be overwhelmed, that we bought into the idea that this particular patient cohort would not do well, would take a 'valuable' bed and therefore they must therefore stay put?

Whatever the answer, we must find it, learn from it, hear from the victims' relatives and maybe even apologise. We must reflect to learn.

Dr Renée Hoenderkamp is a GP in London

Please follow her on Twitter (aka X):

@DrHoenderkamp 


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Comments 5

Guest - Barbara W on Sunday, 01 October 2023 19:31

So just found this. Interesting. I am currently looking at what happened to my mother in a care home and this makes sense. She shouldn't have been in a care home and I think this was manufactured just to get her as a 'paying guest'. She had her 2nd vaccine for covid then a day later was really sick, this is a healthy 63 year old who went the gym etc. 3 to 4 times a week and also ran half marathons.

She was treated terrible, and had this sudden onset dementia a few days after hospital admission. Is this normal? I don't think so. My mother was dead within 2 weeks. From healthy to a gibbering wreck and dead. I now know she was put on some end of life thing. I just need to prove it.

Although, from what I have read there seems to be some kind of invisible ban on these types of cases as solicitors wont take them on. Why is that? Are government and police enforcing some kind of silencing that we don't know about?

So just found this. Interesting. I am currently looking at what happened to my mother in a care home and this makes sense. She shouldn't have been in a care home and I think this was manufactured just to get her as a 'paying guest'. She had her 2nd vaccine for covid then a day later was really sick, this is a healthy 63 year old who went the gym etc. 3 to 4 times a week and also ran half marathons. She was treated terrible, and had this sudden onset dementia a few days after hospital admission. Is this normal? I don't think so. My mother was dead within 2 weeks. From healthy to a gibbering wreck and dead. I now know she was put on some end of life thing. I just need to prove it. Although, from what I have read there seems to be some kind of invisible ban on these types of cases as solicitors wont take them on. Why is that? Are government and police enforcing some kind of silencing that we don't know about?
Guest - Graham on Sunday, 01 October 2023 19:54

This seems to be written by a doctor. I am shocked, well no I am not. My wife Anna was killed by the bastards in July this year. No way was she as sick as they made her. She went in for tests then ended up on end of life care all in the space of approximately 5 days. Anna wasn't sick. She was 73 and healthy and just had some bowel complaint that she could live with. It was one of those things that she thought well if it was sorted I don't need to worry about. It didn't effect her life at all. She goes in and they kept her in for "further tests" then she got really sick, then they said she had early onset of dementia of all things. She didnt have dementia at all. I swear it was their drugs and they know I knew that. I am a scientist and not stupid. I saw what they were administering in the end which was Midasolam. I didn't know at the time it was dangerous and actually responsible for killing her. I am furious. We dedicated our lives to science and she had not long retired and this is her reward!

This seems to be written by a doctor. I am shocked, well no I am not. My wife Anna was killed by the bastards in July this year. No way was she as sick as they made her. She went in for tests then ended up on end of life care all in the space of approximately 5 days. Anna wasn't sick. She was 73 and healthy and just had some bowel complaint that she could live with. It was one of those things that she thought well if it was sorted I don't need to worry about. It didn't effect her life at all. She goes in and they kept her in for "further tests" then she got really sick, then they said she had early onset of dementia of all things. She didnt have dementia at all. I swear it was their drugs and they know I knew that. I am a scientist and not stupid. I saw what they were administering in the end which was Midasolam. I didn't know at the time it was dangerous and actually responsible for killing her. I am furious. We dedicated our lives to science and she had not long retired and this is her reward!
Guest - Mollie on Sunday, 01 October 2023 20:14

Our GP doesn't care. We change in our surgey multiple times. I have a problem with my heart since having the 3rd vaccine and scared to go near my gp or hospital. I really dont know what to do. My dad who is 57 said he is scared too. I feel our NHS is failing us and in fact killing people off. My aunty died last year and she was 53. She wasn't ill she just.had back pain. She was dead within a couple of weeks.

Our GP doesn't care. We change in our surgey multiple times. I have a problem with my heart since having the 3rd vaccine and scared to go near my gp or hospital. I really dont know what to do. My dad who is 57 said he is scared too. I feel our NHS is failing us and in fact killing people off. My aunty died last year and she was 53. She wasn't ill she just.had back pain. She was dead within a couple of weeks.
Guest - Tony on Sunday, 01 October 2023 21:00

My wife was treated really badly at the Heartlands hospital. She went in for a routine test and got kept in. She was kept in for further tests then got really sick. She got water infection (how she got that?) then she went from bad to worse. My wife was 54. She was fine otherwise. She wasn't really sick. I think they killed her and still teraumatised about it all.

My wife was treated really badly at the Heartlands hospital. She went in for a routine test and got kept in. She was kept in for further tests then got really sick. She got water infection (how she got that?) then she went from bad to worse. My wife was 54. She was fine otherwise. She wasn't really sick. I think they killed her and still teraumatised about it all.
Guest - Roger Allison on Monday, 16 October 2023 12:26

It would seem that the state has underhandedly changed laws to make it easier for them to end lives prematurely. I have seen many older friends and some family die before their time and under very suspicious circumstances. 2 were placed in care homes and never made it home. Another went in hospital with back pain and was dead weeks later. From what I was told, they were drugged to death by some kind of drip attached to them. Her family said she was not looked after, was full of sores and marks and had lost loads of weight. Of the days the saw her she was fast asleep throughout. There is something not right with what is going on right now

It would seem that the state has underhandedly changed laws to make it easier for them to end lives prematurely. I have seen many older friends and some family die before their time and under very suspicious circumstances. 2 were placed in care homes and never made it home. Another went in hospital with back pain and was dead weeks later. From what I was told, they were drugged to death by some kind of drip attached to them. Her family said she was not looked after, was full of sores and marks and had lost loads of weight. Of the days the saw her she was fast asleep throughout. There is something not right with what is going on right now
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