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No shortage in PPE at MUH – consultant

News

Dr Jason Horan

No shortage in PPE at MUH – consultant

Anton McNulty

A top consultant at Mayo University Hospital has said there is no shortage of PPE at the facility.
Dr Jason Horan, the Emergency Medical Consultant at MUH, has been among the medical professionals leading the hospital’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak and implementing changes in the Emergency Department to prevent the spread of the virus.
The hospital has been effectively split, with patients presenting with Covid-19 symptoms separated from those who do not to ensure they are do not mix. “We are testing as many patients as possible who come into the hospital to try to stop mixing patients,” Dr Horan explained.
The Co Clare native explained that the number of people presenting with illnesses associated with Covid-19 is still relatively low, adding that the symptoms have not always been obvious.
“There is a mixture of people affected by Covid-19 coming into the hospital. There are people who have no symptoms or people who feel a little bit unwell and have a bit of the dry cough and then there are people who are critically ill with difficulties breathing. The elderly can be very sick with it, but alternatively they can just be vaguely unwell and off form, and that is the challenge for us.”

Proactive PPE management
Dr Horan says that the knowledge accrued from the sharing of information on how to treat the virus from collegues in China and Italy has given them extra time to prepare for the virus. Extra precautions have to be taken among the hospital staff to prevent them contracting the virus, but he added that there is no issue regarding the shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE).
“The hospital has been quite good and proactive in managing our PPE, so it is not something I have had concerns about. We always had enough PPE on the ward whenever we needed it. When it initially kicked off we had to put controls in to control the flow of PPE through the hospital to ensure it wasn’t being wasted. There was never a stage where we said, ‘We don’t have appropriate PPE’. It has always been there for us.
“Some hospitals have been given supplies of these Tyvek boilersuits which can be difficult to work in. We are using the long-sleeve gowns, which are much better. The big respirator masks can be uncomfortable to work in, particularly after a length of time, and can be difficult for people hard of hearing because they do muffle your voice a little bit.”

Fine line
While Mayo has seen a high number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks, Dr Horan believes that if the public continues to adhere to social distancing guidelines, the county will escape the worst of the outbreak.
“The Government restrictions have definitely helped a lot in dampening down the virus rather than getting overwhelmed like Italy. I think it will be a slow burn with people getting sick,  not all at the one time, which was the problem in Italy.
“I think things have been good in Mayo so far. If we can keep our numbers down and the social distancing so the virus doesn’t spread very quickly, I think and am hopeful we will be okay. But it is a very fine line we are walking on.”