On the Front Lines - Paediatrics in a Pandemic
TORONTO, June 30, 2020 /CNW/ - From an HIV clinic in Lagos, Nigeria to a mobile measles vaccination unit in London, England, Joan Abohweyere had been on the front lines of public health emergencies before.
But Covid-19 was something different, a virus that upended the world and posed a once in a lifetime challenge for health care professionals. Abohweyere, the chief of paediatrics at Lakeridge Health in Durham Region, was suddenly faced with a rush of pressing decisions.
As the pandemic started surging into Canada, she was plunged into a series of crucial meetings.
Processes and plans had to be quickly developed to mitigate the threats. What would happen if a woman in labour was displaying covid symptoms? Doctors would need to consider how to protect the baby, even though they were unsure as to whether the mother was carrying the coronavirus.
In her own mind, she wondered what she would do if faced with a "code pink", a child in need of immediate resuscitation. Several layers of PPE would need to be donned before administering urgent, lifesaving care.
"Getting into all that when a child is in distress, that sense of a tug between the natural response to get in there and resuscitate, but in the age of Covid, you've got to get into that gown first. It's a challenge for paediatrics when every second counts."
She is full of praise not only for her fellow physicians, but for the nursing staff, the lab and x-ray technicians and the non-medical support staff. "They've all been doing incredible work. Everyone has been at risk, everyone. I think there has been a lack of recognition of health care workers involved in this."
Even as Ontario is showing signs of having passed the first wave of the pandemic, Abohweyere fears for what may happen in the fall and winter. Even in normal times, it is a busy season for paediatricians when they see many children coming to hospital with influenza or other respiratory illnesses. Now she wonders whether they may have patients with multiple infections, including the coronavirus.
"I'm much more worried about (the second wave) because it's going to impact paediatrics significantly", continued Abohweyere.
To read the full blog: https://pedsontario.com/Article?Id=1105
SOURCE Pediatrician's Alliance of Ontario
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