Ami Jones, Audio Transcript, NHS 73

A: Unfortunately at the moment my afternoons are spent in the office, or what I call the hurt locker, basically ringing families to tell them, ‘I’m really sorry your loved one is really doing very poorly and I’m very concerned they’re gunna die.’ And some day’s you’ll have that conversation three, four, five times. Phone call after phone call after phone call. And then you’re back up to go back around, and go back on ward round doing another check on everybody and see, you know, does anyone else need proning or unproning or tubes or lines. And then you do another handover to the next oncoming shift are going to the same thing over and over again. That’s interspersed with obviously, with referrals. So A & E may refer patients, there’ll be patients up on the respiratory high care or down on the Covid wards. So we may have to, kind of, pause the ward round to dash off and have a look at them and potentially bring them up and stabilise them.

D: That’s hard and you’re dealing with so much. I mean you mentioned a little bit back in the interview that you don’t let the sadness in, but when you’re making those phone calls, when you’re seeing people at their sickest, that’s difficult, that must be very hard for you.

A: It is hard. As I say, it’s not my sadness because that’s not my relative. If it was my relative I’d be absolutely heartbroken so I have a huge amount of empathy for the relatives and for the patients. And I can completely understand their positions particularly at the moment, you know, getting rung at home – it’s awful. But equally, I’m their doctor and I need to, kind of, keep myself emotionally separate a little bit so I don’t make the wrong decisions for that patient. And I need to do that not just for that patient, but for twenty more patients, and any other patients that might need me in the coming days. I think if you let yourself get chewed up and broken – you know, we’ll all have the odd patient that really breaks us. Because, you know, as I say we had a young chap last week that we were all really rooting for because I think we really identified ourselves in him. He was our age, he was young and fit, he had nothing on paper. He looked like he should be on a mountain back not on a ventilator and we were all really rooting for him that, ‘surely he’s going to come through.’ And we were all a bit crestfallen when he died. And I think even, you know, particularly the guys on shift that day it was probably a bit of a down shift and everyone was probably feeling pretty down beat about it. But actually you’ve got to pick yourself up, because you’ve got another twenty patients that need you. And you need to be in a good place to make the right decisions for them as well.

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