Derriford Hospital is one of four hospitals in Devon that is now able to declare itself as ‘COVID-19-free’, with their last case ending on April 23rd, according to Plymouth Live.
In hospitals all across the country, there have been many people that have been in need of surgery, but have been unable to do so due to the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the hospital, as well as the need for more beds during the difficult times.
An example of a sector at Derriford Hospital that was shut down for surgery was the Maxillofacial surgery department, which was suspending surgery for ongoing patients on a month-by-month basis.
The hospital, located around the corner from Plymouth Marjon University, was unable to start treatment for more patients due to the backlog of surgeries that needed to be performed.
Patients were being told during treatment, whether they were at the start, middle or approaching their surgery, that the timing of their operations remains unknown.
With Derriford Hospital now being on a one-week streak of zero COVID-19 cases, patients will be hoping to start surgeries and treatment again shortly. We spoke to some hospital attendees to hear their thoughts on the current situation.
20-year old, Dylan Ramsey suffers from some minor health problems; though he seemed rather relaxed with the risk of contracting COVID-19 over the last year of lockdowns:
“I don’t feel any less comfortable than normal. For me, if it is something I have to do, I’ll just [go] and do it really. I don’t think I’ve ever felt ‘vulnerable’ to COVID-19, [I] just treated it with the same amount of caution anyone [would] – I’ve avoided it thus far!”
The Marjon student also explained that he has never had any issues going to the hospital either, saying that “COVID isn’t going to get in the way of getting my body the right way,” but “having zero COVID cases does add an extra layer of ease.”
The Doughnut also spoke to 74-year old Chris Stringer from Yelverton about her feelings towards attending hospital in the current state of the pandemic.
When asked whether she feels vulnerable to catching the virus right now, she expressed her confidence, saying:
“No, I have had two injections. I would [have felt vulnerable] back then, but now that I have had my second injection I feel more secure. I have to say though, I still like to put my mask on and wash my hands regularly, regardless.”
Chris also explained that she would feel “totally comfortable” as she knows all the precautions will have been taken “properly”; though if this was six months ago, she would have felt “more nervous because COVID was more prominent, even in hospitals.”
“[Six months ago], the doctor asked me to do appointments over the phone rather than going to the surgery. I think it would’ve been better in person to be honest. You can explain more in person, face-to-face, and I did feel like I needed to ask more questions at the end as they rushed them a little bit.”
Finally, we asked Chris when she believes the hospitals will go back to normal, in which she believes it will be at least another year:
“My personal feelings are that it will be another 12 months or so; because it has been such a devastating pandemic and the NHS need to sort themselves again in order to prepare for surgeries and patients with different illnesses.”
How long it will take for hospitals to return to normal is not currently known by anybody; but, as the UK starts to ease out of lockdown through the Government’s roadmap, it seems we are soon approaching normality again.
– Header image: HDC, Unsplash.
– Image 2: Martha Dominguez, Unsplash.
– Image 3: Paul Bisseker, Pexels.