A Day in the Life of a COVID-19 Physician

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The Critic magazine has another piece by the Covid Physician on the effect of lockdowns. It is an extensive and wide-ranging critique of how the virus has been handled, written by an NHS doctor. It starts with a tale of the effect on the treatment of a patient in need of specialised care:

Lockdown has dire, hidden consequences for unwell patients in general practice. Take for example the 34 year-old patient with motor neurone disease. English is a second language, she is an asylum seeker who thought she was escaping persecution and tyranny. In addition to the general muscular spasticity and weakness which will eventually lead to a slow death by respiratory failure she has a progressive bulbar palsy which means she can no longer speak nor swallow well. These will worsen. Each morning she risks a death by choking on her puréed breakfast. A feeding tube has been proposed, but she pretends to her specialist it hasn’t been. She is on medicines that sedate her. She can barely handle a mobile phone. Let us say life is already a multiple misery.

COVID-19 has brought her a special new hell. Carers avoid her due to the vulnerability her medical conditions bring to her. Speech and language therapists (SALTs) avoid her and make-believe care through Microsoft Teams. To make this virtual dystopia impressive and even better than the real thing they have given it an incredible name: The SALT proudly states: “Consultation done with AAC meeting”. What is that? I keep reading. My goodness, another Fourth Industrial revolution thing? Augmentative and Alternative Communication. To me, a simple video-call is demoralising doublespeak, for non-existent care by proxy.

My patient’s neurologist does the same: multi-conferencing the locked-down patient as she slowly rots in her asylum accommodation amidst a cold, bleak post-industrial pseudo-apocalypse. A pathetic dripping roast for everyone to make even easier money off. It occurs to me that the dehumanising, forced-impoverishment and restrictions of my refugee and asylum patient group is now upon us all, meagre social credits, not allowed to work, restricted movement, restricted access to healthcare. We are all in the same lockdown boat, now.

It concludes with an excoriation of Johnson, Whitty, Vallance et al, who worry the author far more than COVID-19:

The Prime Minister is fond of saying he is following the science. He is not. He is absolving himself of command, control and blame by saying so. He may also be too classically-educated to appreciate he is not following the science with lockdown, masks and social-distancing. He is ensconced in an echo-chamber following a narrow body of nominal rubber-stamping medics, scientists and mathematicians without the correct skill sets, incentive nor personality traits to think outside of the box. They are the ones who ruthlessly rise to the top and become the best government mandarins in Whitehall. Ambitious, ladder-climbing, back-stabbing Et tu Brute? sociopaths in the image of their Caesar.

While they do politics, we are suffering and dying in their Yes Minister tragifarce for real. They could lock us up forever based upon their over-reactive criteria. Johnson, Whitty, Vallance, Hancock, and SAGE worry me more than COVID-19 and are far more dangerous to the UK. They have infantilised medicine. What would they do to us if a truly awesome contagion were to turn up?

Professors Hancock and Whitty have erased another fundamental medical principle from medicine: Primum Non Nocere: first do no harm.

Worth reading in full.