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"Please, I beg you." Brittany Hockley's urgent plea from the COVID-19 frontline.

While Australians are told to retreat to their homes and bolt the door, Brittany Hockley’s job requires her to leave the safety of her home and fight on the very frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

As an emergency radiographer, Brittany has spent over 10 years in busy hospitals around the world. But of course, never in all her days has she seen anything remotely approaching what she is witnessing now.

As someone who confronts the coronavirus daily, in a situation rapidly spiralling towards extremes, Brittany – who you may recognise from Nick Cummins’ season of The Bachelor – tells Mamamia what life within the walls of hospital looks like today.

Side note… watch the creative ways celebrities are dealing with coronavirus isolation. Post continues below. 

Video by Mamamia

She talks of panicky patients, exhausted staff and a dreadful sense that, as bad as it is, they are only at the beginning.

“There have been some incidences of abuse, coughing on people, anger and ill treatment,” Brittany says.

“I believe most of this comes from the patients being scared and anxious as they await their results.

“Patients are complaining about having to wait for their scan, to wait for their swab, to wait for their X-ray, to wait for their results. People are getting angry when they are told they don’t meet the criteria for being tested. But the criteria is in place for a reason – we simply do not have enough tests right now.”

 

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The demand on the healthcare system is, already, straining. And the sudden outbreak of the illness that currently has no cure has left hospitals scrambling to cope with the crisis. Patience from the patients and their families, Brittany says, is what is most needed, and most sadly lacking at times.

“If they see some workers taking a break, getting a coffee or trying to eat something, they start calling them lazy.

“I can assure you, no-one working in healthcare right now is lazy.”

Brittany understands, though, the stress her patients are feeling. She feels it too.

“I think people forget that we are all scared and anxious too. We are in the same position as everyone else, except we are being exposed to it every day…

“Most workers are working overtime. Are not taking breaks. Have come out of retirement. Everyone is working extremely hard and putting themselves in danger every day, facing a virus that we are still learning about.

“There are moments of breakdowns and stress. There are hard decisions that have to be made. There are time pressures. There are doctors that are starting to develop wounds on their noses and face from the pressure of wearing the protective masks all day. There is the constant stress in the back of all of our minds that we are going to run out of protective equipment soon.

“This pandemic is really knocking people, and it is unfortunately only just beginning.”

Side note… Here is a graph of the growth in coronavirus cases around the world.

Despite the stressful and strenuous environment, Brittany says her fellow healthcare workers have miraculously managed to maintain high spirits.

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She adds: “The doctors, nurses, radiographers, pathologists, wards men, cleaners, receptionists – we are all part of one big production and it couldn’t be done without each and every single person… We turn up with a smile on our face and do our best to just get through the ever-increasing days safely and effectively.

“We all know we are in this together, and that definitely makes a difference… Everybody is just rolling up their sleeves, putting on their gloves and getting it done.”

Brittany’s message for Australians is simple: “Please, I beg you, listen to the government and stay inside and self isolate.”

“We get one chance to really nail this. One real chance to beat it. Healthcare workers will continue to risk their lives for you, but if they all become sick and can’t work, and if the Intensive Care Unit becomes full and there are no more beds and ventilators left, then there is not much to be done.”

Brittany’s advice – as guided by the emergency doctors around her – is that the best thing for everyone to do is to act as though you already have the virus, and act accordingly. And remember, no one is immune or invincible from COVID-19. By staying inside, you are literally saving lives.

Brittany adds: “2020 will go down as one of the toughest years we will ever face. It will make history. It will be life-changing for so many.

“Without everyone working together as a team, we don’t stand a chance…

“So, let’s come together now by staying away.”

Read more about COVID-19:

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Feature Image: Getty.

The current situation around COVID-19 might be making you feel scared or uncertain. It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s also important to learn how to manage feelings of anxiety during this time. To download the free PDF: Anxiety & Coronavirus – How to Manage Feelings of Anxiety click here.


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