Lost and Found in the Time of Covid

At times I am not sure if I am stuck in Dante’s first circle of Hell; Limbo, or one of Poe’s 7 rooms in “The Masque of the Red Death” or in some strange sick way stuck with just the 7 dwarfs, or one of them, on any given day….

7 of something

Covid has kept me trapped or should I say locked in and locked out – locked in Saudi Arabia and locked out of South Africa; the irony is that they are both abbreviated to SA. Stuck in SA, whilst trying to get to SA – a perpetual state of limbo. The pandemic is so representative of Poe’s writings – representing the typical attributes of human life and mortality, which would imply that Covid could be an allegory about man’s futile attempts to stave off the inevitable, death. Yet, as we might expect, there is no locking out or blotting out death. By the end of the outbreak, it will have broken down the walls of each castle, despite our best efforts to hold it at bay.

But this is no allegory, this is real life, and its effects on so many; the infected, the cured, the healthy, the untouched, the medical teams; is significant, life changing and life ending.

I have been on the road these past 9 months, starting in Iraq and ending in Saudi. Arrived in Saudi in early January and still here, with no end in sight. Home awaits, when flights and countries unlock, until then its working in a Covid rich country. I have been on 2 different projects, and exposed to the ways of Covid, from overseeing an outbreak from afar due to lockdown and curfews and then to being at the coalface of one, albeit a small outbreak. Been in lock down and then isolation, been on the road and in camps with outbreaks. The pressure has been continuous and relentless, what with all of the above and then also at times, wearing full medical PPE, double gloved, double masked with a face shield in 40 deg heat testing and monitoring people. Yes, you can breathe quiet well in a double mask (surgical and N95) with a face shield in 40˚ C heat for a few hours. Rather that, than to be intubated and ventilated.

mike in full ppe

Quantum_Conundrum_cover

One of the issues at the forefront of one’s mind is when do I get to detach from this dystopian nightmare and get to go home and rest. Working 6 to 7 days a week, week in and week out, some days are quiet while others drag into 18- or 20-hour marathons. The answer is the same as “how long is a piece of string” conundrum.

Compared to running a race with no defined finish line, you have no way to know how to pace yourself and what must be kept in reserve for the last lap and sprint across the line.

So now that I have spoken about being lost, what have I found/witnessed/seen during this time? I have found friends in places I never thought I would, have tapped the reserves of resilience I never  knew I had, seen (once again) the banality of corporate deceit and greed (which is not a new experience for me, but just depressing to witness in times of need and in a disaster), seen the compassion and care of dedicated medical professionals working with limited resources in difficult environments.

Personally, and professionally I have had to stretch the boundaries of my knowledge, patience, and energy levels; to keep pace with the ever-changing environments, locations, working hours and unimaginable stress from unexpected quarters. I have had to rely on my tried and trusted coping mechanisms. The journey has dragged me to revisit and explore new and old coping processes to get through the long grind away from home and my safe place.

No matter how bitter, maudlin, depressing this journey has been I must focus on the good that has come out of it, and that will be my guiding star.

“Midway along the journey of our life
I woke to find myself in a dark wood,
for I had wandered off from the straight path.

How hard it is to tell what it was like,
this wood of wilderness, savage and stubborn
(the thought of it brings back all my old fears),

a bitter place! Death could scarce be bitterer.
But if I would show the good that came of it
I must talk about things other than the good.”

Dante Alighieri

or in the words of Eros Ramazzotti from his song, Lettera al future/Letter to the future – loosely based around “The Masque of the Red Death”

Eros Ramazzotti Lettera al future/Letter to the future

I am writing all this to you

who will be born someday in the future

be kind

and who knows how things will be

if this wind will have left the cities…

I don’t know the world you’ll find

I just hope you’ll be

the son of a new

and more fair humanity

Ambulance Today – Spring Edition 2020

Jam-packed as usual with informative topics on Global Warming, Pharmacology, the return of Tourniquets …and much more

This Africa Quarterly explores Trauma Care – and as per usual we will put the microscope on the African continent, in the search for and the challenge of definitive care. Were we offer an interesting perspective on trauma care within Africa and the true cost of what happens when a shocking 90% of Global injury-related mortality is concentrated within low and medical income.

Click on the link below to download and read the entire magazine (you’re welcome) and of course my article on page 40 & 41

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today – Trauma Care in Africa – the Challenge of Definitive Care

Ambulance Today Spring Ed 2020

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

For the readers from Africa, if you wish to advertise or have a free advertorial written up in the magazine, make contact and lets see how I can assist …

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today Spring 2020 cover

 

Ambulance Today – Winter Edition 2019

The Winter Edition for 2019, has hit the shelves, it’s live now on Ambulance Today.

This main theme of this editions focus, is on voluntary EMS; to give an idea of its many forms and origins around the world and to celebrate those who devote so much of their time to EMS out of nothing more than a heartfelt passion and a deep-seated need to help their fellow man.

As Editor Joe says,with respect to our Africa correspondent: “Michael Emmerich holds a mirror up to the caregiver-patient relationship and offers a deeply interesting and thought-provoking look at how this can affect implicit bias within medical treatment. No matter how perfect your people skills are or how open your mind is, this one is sure to give you some highly useful food for thought.”

Click on the link below to download and read the entire magazine (you’re welcome) and of course my article on page 48 & 49

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today: Overcoming Perceived Biases in Treating the Sick and Injured

Ambulance Today Winter Ed 2019

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

For the readers from Africa, if you wish to advertise or have a free advertorial written up in the magazine, make contact and lets see how I can assist …

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today Winter 2019 cover

 

Ambulance Today – Autumn Edition 2019

The Autumn Edition for 2019, has hit the shelves, it’s live now on Ambulance Today.

This edition is focused upon technology and education. In so far as technology goes, we take a look at some of the newest innovations currently being introduced to EMS. Specifically here, I would like to mention WoundClot, which is rightly being lauded as one of the most significant life saving advancements in emergency trauma care.

As Editor Joe says: “We hope that you have as much fun delving into this issue as we had in creating it, and that you come away as enriched from the thought-provoking articles inside as we have been in researching and overseeing them.”

Click on the link below to download and read the entire magazine (you’re welcome) and of course my article on page 34 & 35

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today: The Challenge of Critical Thinking in EMS

Ambulance Today Autumn 2019

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

For the readers from Africa, if you wish to advertise or have a free advertorial written up in the magazine, make contact and lets see how I can assist …

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today Autumn 2019 cover

Ambulance Today – Summer Edition 2019

The Summer Edition for 2019, has hit the shelves, it’s live now on Ambulance Today. The theme for this quarter is Mental Health and there are interesting articles throughout the magazine dealing with this very real and pertinent issue in EMS. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and also my article on page 34.

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today:
Compassion Fatigue vs Compassion Satisfaction

Ambulance Today Summer 2019

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today summer 2019 cover.jpg

Ambulance Today – Spring Edition 2019

The Spring Edition for 2019, has hit the shelves, its live now on Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 42.

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today:
Case Presentation – Electrical Alternans in the field

Ambulance Today Spring Ed 2019 .pdf

For this Africa quarterly, I am discussing a cardiac patient encountered on a remote site in Africa and the unique challenges faced by the paramedic and his support team.

Initial 12 Lead ECG Electrical Alternans.jpg

 

There is also a special feature in this edition, on interviews with  and I was both honoured and flattered to be included in this article as one – Joe interviewed persons he considers to be key in the regions/Continents of the Globe. You can read about my thoughts on EMS in Africa, the challenges, the way forward and some of my dreams. The Africa interview is on page 30.

GLOBAL CLINICAL EMS SPECIAL:

Around the World in 80 Questions – on pages 11 to 41

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance Today – Winter Edition 2018

The Winter Edition for 2018, has hit the shelves, its live now on Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 65.

From the Africa Desk of Ambulance Today: I’m dreaming of a happy Christmas

Ambulance Today Winter Ed 2018 .pdf

This magazines focus is on South America but even more importantly it is a memorial issue – sadly our Executive Editor and man behind Ambulance Today Declan Heneghan sadly passed away on the 28th of November.

IN MEMORIAM: DECLAN BRYAN DOMINIC HENEGHAN
(1965-2018)

 

There is so much to say about this edition and Declan, as he is Ambulance Today… read the messages of remembrance form across the globe … he will be sadly missed .

The article on Burnout: A silent threat in the prehospital care service (page 37) is close to my heart.

A fascinating analysis as to the contributing factors is offered. The more aware we are of the nature of our obstacles, the better equipped we are to either navigate or avoid them!”

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

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Ambulance Today – Autumn Edition 2018

The Autumn Edition for 2018, has hit the shelves, its live now on Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 41 & 42.

Clinical innovation and technology in medicine and its challenges in Africa

Ambulance Today Autumn Ed 2018 .pdf

Ambulance Today Autumn Ed 2018 – Flip Digital

The magazine’s focus is on technology in medicine:

CLINICAL INNOVATION SPECIAL: Are you getting the Right Dose of cutting-edge technology needed to improve your patient-care?

Within this Clinical Innovation Special you will find a special report from Nashville-based EMS Healthcare Solutions. One of their leading products, RightDose, offers a unique solution that takes the guesswork and calculation out of medication administration. Also well worth reading is the feature on renowned UK ambulance manufacturer, Cartwright Conversions, which highlights their continued commitment to clinical innovation within ambulance design with their very rapidly-growing and impressive range of clinically-based ambulance modifications. The article on “The use of Mechanical CPR Devices in a Pre-Hospital Setting” is a fascinating read .. amongst so many others in this edition.

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Ambulance-today1_zpszzgqa0zv

Ambulance Today – Summer Edition 2018

The Summer Edition for 2018, has hit the shelves, its live now in Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 46 & 47, where I ask more questions than provide answers.

The Cost Of Service

Ambulance Today – Summer Edition 2018

Besides the above article, the magazine is littered with so many other good reads – the article on the wound clotting product – WoundClot is very interesting, and the expansion of EMS in South America looks exciting, and there is so much more … enjoy the read.

The article I penned on The Cost of Service is very close to my heart and mind, after 34 years in EMS. For those who would love to chat further about the cost of service, PTSD and depression, please feel free to chat to me via my e-mail address or in the thread beneath this post.

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate – Enjoy!

Image © 2011-2017 DanSun PhotoArt – www.dansunphotos.com

Ambulance Today – Winter Edition

The Winter Edition has hit the shelves, its live now in Ambulance Today. Click on the link below to download and read the magazine and my article on page 33, where I discuss the challenges facing emergency medicine educators in The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – ‘From the Africa Desk’ by the Africa Editor, Michael Emmerich.

Ambulance Today – Winter Edition 2017

Besides the above article the magazine is littered with so many other good reads – from Infection Control to Technology in Medicine, Spinal Care and Identifying the Right Care for Older Patients.

To all the followers of this page, if you want to see an article written about any specific aspect of Emergency Care on the African continent, or get me to interview a key role player, drop me a mail. Equally, if you have any news items you would like us to run either in our magazine or on our daily-updated global ambulance news website please make contact.

To my fellow passionate EMS friends across the world, I trust you are enjoying the start of this journey, as we continue to explore this fascinating continent. Till then be safe out there and stay passionate, and for those who are privileged enough to spend time with their families over this holiday period – Enjoy!