Be vigilant at the QEH

I refer to the recent announcements by authorities about the development of a new virus at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This approaches the kind of factual data which the holy grail of freedom of information will eventually bring to this fair land.

The QEH management should be applauded. However, the release yet requires some plain-speak translation:

1. I doubt PAHO has been simply “invited” here to help. Logically, we pressed the “Red Rutton” because we are out (or almost of) of options, and t’ings real dread. My dad died in the QEH in 1995 of “cardio-pulmonary complications”. He certainly did not enter there with such.

2. No mention of a “carrier” (aka “Typhoid Mary”). A bank here well-known to me had such a (very pleasant) lady many years back; 65 folks were real sick with Salmonella; nine hospitalised, but the Ministry Health did locate the carrier, to their great credit, and showed staff a video, which was an education for me.

By the way, a doctor, or a senior member of the QEH administration could also be a carrier – hhmm. Devilish little things, them messy microbes!

3. “Klebsiella infections commonly occur amongst patients receiving treatment for other conditions”. The only meaning I can put to this, is that anyone in there (visitors too?) might be a vector – or a victim.

4. QEH should also pay close attention to (a) out-patients and those who accompany them (b) “kind” folks/family, who bring in food for patients.

While our own forensic specialists and the “invited” ones tackle an obviously very serious matter, I feel this has at least given us an appreciation of what a brave and responsible government could do for us, if only this country could be blessed with a Freedom of Information Act!

Final Translation:

Visit only if absolutely necessary; QEH already have a lot on their hands – don’t add to this.

Sanitise hands properly at every “sanitisation station” – especially the last one when you are leaving!

Doan touch anything, including elevator buttons, door-knobs and handles, stair-rails, your loved-one, bed-rails, arm-rests on chairs, telephones, telephone directories, toilet doors and vanity basins especially, snack-dispensing machines. Doan shake anyone’s hands. Nothing so. It’s okay to look, but doan touch nurses either.

– Tony Webster

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