Lessons to be learnt post-Covid 

Boris Johnston has said there will be an enquiry into the Coronavirus outbreak. Let’s use this to find out why the NHS always seems reluctant to consult specialists and/or patients who have dealt with similar situations.

Those of us who survived the polio outbreaks of the 50s, have seen it all before.  We had Iron Lungs – today it was shortage of ventilators – and learnt to cope.  But as a layman one is concerned with the seeming reluctance to learn from those  survived cancer, polio, etc.

Drugs used to treat Covid-19 patients may throw up unexpected long-term side effects. But, before the medical profession spends billions on researching what to do, has anyone looked into what has happend before e.g. with cancer drugs?

Bitter experience has shown Cancer patients how drug side effects can appear long after treatment finishes.  UK cancer care has been slow to react, and treatment for these side effects can be very ‘hit and miss’.  Patients have learnt from each other;  yet doctors seem reluctant to listen to us. However,  they say, “lessons have been learnt”, so instead of re-inventing the wheel, doctors treating Covid cases should ask colleagues what they discovered previously.

Polio, Cancer, Ebola and other diseases left survivors determined to get on with life, only to find that  ‘their’ hospital abandoned them, making them return to their GP to get follow-up appointments to deal with long-term consequences.  Sadly, the UK is often behind hospitals in Europe when it comes to dealing with these problems. There needs to be a realisation that GPs are GENERAL Practitioners, not specialists.  Therefore it makes sense to allow patients to return to the team that treated them originally, not leave them to go through the whole pathway again.

Although benefits of treatment usually far outweigh potential risks from side effects, medical staff are still being ‘economical with the truth’ when it comes to warning patients what to expect with long-term drug side effects. There seems to be a reluctance to consult doctors dealing with previous pandemics. Now, Covid-19 patients may find recovery is going to be longer and more difficult than they expect.  All because of archaic NHS Admin, that won’t listen to patients who have had side effects and worked out for themselves how to treat them.

One reason for setting up this blog was because I didn’t have time to answer all the questions other patients tackled me with in Outpatients.

This is often the reality

Treatment of tong-term side effects is often a case of being left to fend for ourselves.

Made to feel that it was only me showing signs, and I should stop making a fuss, it took me some time to realise I am not the only one! There is still too much brushed under the carpet which needs to be out in the open.  It made me wonder how much doctors wanted to pander to drug companies, when I would raise a side effect problem and they tell me it was due to my age, etc.

Long-term drug side effects include hair loss, nausea, skin irritations, fatigue, etc.,but today’s Covid survivors need to be aware there are many less well-known symptoms that may persist or arise months or even years after treatment has been completed.

Keep in mind that everyone is different. Some people may have several of these side effects, while many will have none. Side effects also vary considerably depending on the particular drugs that are used.

So far the media has highlighted the following problems common to cancer, covid-19 etc ….

  • Cardiac Concerns
  • Fatigue
  • Respiratory Effects
  • Liver problems
  • compromised skin
  • nausea

These seem to be the major concerns, but there are more.  So if you are concerned about possible long-term side effects from drugs now is the time to get them sorted – go for it! 

Don’t be fobbed off with “it’s your age”;  “I’ve never seen this before (often a lie)” “let’s wait and see” ; etc.  NO NO NO.  It’s your life – demand problems get sorted – quick!

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