Emails reveal doctor’s request for PPE before Covid-19’s death | Society

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Tun, born and trained in Burma, was an associate neurorehabilitation specialist at Reading Hospital. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 on April 6 and died at the age of 62 in his own hospital.

The emails, all sent on March 23, show that the increasingly frightening requests from Tun and his colleagues for PPE have been turned down by hospital directors. .




Michael Tun, the son of Dr. Peter Tun

Michael Tun, the son of Dr. Peter Tun, believes that the hospital director has applied too strict an interpretation of the EPS advice. Photography: David Levene / The Guardian

In one, Tun said, “We don’t have basic surgical masks for the Caversham ward neuro-rehabilitation medical team. The room stock was taken by the ICU [intensive care], according to a staff nurse … We don’t have eye protection kits, gowns or scrubs. “

However, a manager sent an email to the ward team to deny his requests. They said, “Matron … will confirm that you are not” hot ” [confirmed Covid-19] the patients in your department. You do not need PPE at this time. It’s “business continuity” right now. “

A second manager also refused. Their response acknowledged that the PPE was insufficient and made it clear that staff in other areas of the hospital were deemed to need it more. “I am unable to order masks for Caversham without any suspicious or confirmed service,” said the manager.

“These supplies are not widely available and should be used in a reasonable manner for those most at risk (ie those dealing with suspected or confirmed cases). I can get supplies immediately if and when you need them. “

In his response, Tun pointed out that the hospital could not know which patients had caught the virus because at the time it did not test most people with symptoms – fever, cough and shortness of breath – and that its service de Caversham could therefore have undetected cases.

Tun said in another email: “If we are not prepared in advance before the room gets” hot “, it will be too little and too late. “

Two colleagues supported Tun’s request. One of them asked officials, “Can you get us some PPE right away?” Can you help us? Another said, “I don’t think it’s [as usual] continuity at the time … It is only a matter of time before our patients and we are infected (if not already) and suffer from significant morbidity or mortality.

It turned out to be tragically prophetic. A week after sending the emails on March 30, Tun was tested after showing symptoms. On April 1, the test showed that he had the disease. He was taken to the Royal Berkshire intensive care unit on April 6 and put on ventilation two days later, but died on April 13. His wife Win Mar also caught Covid-19 and is also in the hospital, but “is doing well and is getting stronger and should be available soon,” said Michael, a 34-year-old product manager in a startup. technology in Melbourne. , Australia.

Michael congratulated the staff at Royal Berkshire who cared for his sick father. “The doctors and nurses are fantastic. They gave my father great care in their efforts to keep him alive. After working there for 21 years, many of them were like family to him, “he said.

But he feels that hospital directors have applied too strict an interpretation of the Public Health England guidelines on what PPE health care personnel should wear in which situations. And he insisted that a statement of confidence to the BBC denying that he lacked PPE could not be true. “If there was no shortage, why didn’t my father even get the basic masks when he asked for them?” It is irresponsible to hide behind politicians. They don’t make common sense decisions. “

He said he forwarded the emails to the Guardian in the hope that his father’s story would inspire those in positions of power to take all necessary steps to end the shortages. “It is so painful for our family. My grandfather, who is 91, lost his oldest son. My mother lost her best friend. And I and my brother William lost our father.

“When doctors sign up for the medical profession, they don’t sign up for loss of life.”

In a statement, the Royal Berkshire said it had correctly applied the NHS-wide PPE guidelines. “Everyone with confidence is deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Peter Tun,” said a spokesperson, describing him as “popular and respected by everyone who knew and worked with him.”

Stressing that the trust follows strict national guidelines, the spokesman added that managers and matrons regularly check the services to make sure the staff were “always safe, properly and properly equipped”.

“Too little and too late”: Peter Tun’s pleas for PPE

Of: Tun Peter

Shipped: March 23, 2020 3:16 PM

Material: SUBJECT: PPE for the Caversham Ward Neurorehab Medical Team

Dear _________

As recommended by the President of the Royal College of Physicians, we are not expected to touch or perform CPR in a patient suspected or confirmed by COVID-19 unless an appropriate minimum PPE (such as basic surgical masks, none available in Caversham service).

Two doctors in our department have been self-isolating for 14 days now. A [member of our] the team has regular duties … with COVID-19 suspected patients, and they come to our office every day.

We are not sure if a patient requiring CPR (could be anywhere in the hospital) could have been exposed to COVID-19 patients in the HHR [Royal Berkshire Hospital] since admission, as RBH policy does not test PCR for COVID-19 for all patients with “fever, cough and shortness of breath”, unless they meet certain criteria to be agreed by the microbiologist and the breast doctor.

If we are not prepared in advance before the service becomes “HOT” [has confirmed cases], it will be too little and too late.

Regards,

To fart

AT: Tun Peter

Shipped: March 23, 2020 3:26 PM

Material: SUBJECT: PPE for the Caversham Ward Neurorehab Medical Team

Dear peter

The advice you cited is the same as the advice we follow for suspected or confirmed patients. Many people are currently out of self-isolation for 14 days, but since we have no government guidelines at this point on staff testing, we will not know if they are COVID or not, they may just have a cough. or fever for other reasons.

I am unable to order masks for Caversham without any suspicious or confirmed service. These supplies are not widely available and should be used in a reasonable manner for those most at risk (i.e. those dealing with suspected or confirmed cases). I can get supplies immediately if and when you need them.

This is the position of the Trust at this time and I have no power to influence this

My excuses

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