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Healthcare workers ‘upset’: Aussie doctor’s rant

1 month ago 19

An Aussie doctor on the COVID-19 front lines has taken to Twitter to vent her frustration about the inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gear being given to healthcare workers.

“Wonder why Australian healthcare workers are upset?” asked Tanya Selak to her thousands of followers.

“We get second best, non-fitted PPE.”

Dr Selak is an anaesthetist along the NSW south coast in Wollongong, tasked with one of the most dangerous roles during the COVID-19 crisis — intubating critically ill patients.

And she’s not happy with current medical advice.

There are currently 1178 healthcare workers with active cases of coronavirus in Victoria.

“I just again make the point to all Victorians, our health workers are getting this virus and one of the ways that we can have more healthcare workers healthy and less getting this virus is to make sure that we all follow the rules,” Premier Daniel Andrews said in today’s press conference.

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Dr Salek told her followers: “Thousands are infected.”

“Authorities say most infections aren’t from work but won’t supply the data.

“Our UK colleagues quite rightly wonder what we’ve been doing these last 6 months.”

Dr Selak has been quite vocal in this front for the past few months, critical of the sloppy advice coming from The Infection Control Expert Group which advises medical staff on PPE.

She and many others are calling on them to “adopt a precautionary, best practice approach to occupational safety & personal protective equipment”.

“If you work in Healthcare in Australia, please read this letter, consider adding your signature, and forward to your colleagues,” Dr Selak posted on social media.

“The Infection Control Expert Group are the lead group who make decisions for our PPE in Australia,” she went on.

“The group includes many exemplary academics in infection control, however does not include broader representation from experts in worker safety, and lacks consultation with frontline clinicians.

“Even the bravest most resilient doctors and nurses are worried.

“With over 1000 healthcare workers infected, four in intensive care, with our increased risk of infection compared to the general population, we seek to have reform of this advisory group and updated recommendations which align with international comparators and new evidence.”

Dr Selak is in particular calling for “fit-testing” of masks – the process of testing that masks are being correctly worn by medical staff before coming into contact with a COVID-19 patient.

“The use of non-fit-tested N95/P2-masks alongside incorrect donning and doffing of PPE have been stated as possible causes of infection (for healthcare workers),” a newly released report stated.

Other medical experts are also calling for better advice and consistency surrounding the wearing of PPE.

“Early experience from China found the proportion of healthcare workers who contract COVID-19 can be up to 29% in settings with inadequate personal protective equipment, or PPE,” two academics wrote for The Conversation.

“Lessons from China also show workplace transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can be reduced to negligible numbers with sufficient supply, and correct use of, airborne precaution PPE.”

Dr Selak told the Illawarra Mercury that her job is incredibly physical, making proper use of PPE crucial to avoid contracting the virus.

“We’ve had to take their mask off for the procedure and we are very physically close to them, putting our fingers and instruments into their mouths, with our faces close to theirs,” she said.

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