My Friend's wife ... a breakdown tale

My friend Will is 58 and his wife 63.  She is a respiratory therapist in the South East.

Given what she does (which is an ICU role) she has been battling COVID patients since March.  She herself has had asymptomatic COVID and worked throughout that period.  She has antibodies.

She's a very solid, stable person.  Two weeks ago, after a several weeks of making life or death decisions on who she should work with (because she and her team don't have time to deal with everyone) she had a major breakdown in the staff room.  She was off for a week (in which period she couldn't decide what she wanted to eat or drink etc) and was put on strong antidepressants.  She is now being phased back into work, she is desperate to return because there is no one to replace her on the shift so less people are able to get respiratory physiotherapy, which is a really effective method of treatment.

Her hospital is full and actually overflowing (in that they have an annexe which is supposed to be for major incidents but is now annexed permanently for COVID patients).  So, for all those who say there is capacity within the NHS and poo poo this current outbreak, the only information I have is anecdotal from someone I trust in relation to one hospital.  Her hospital is overrun enough to have driven her over the edge with the consequences of decisions she has had to make.

it also isn't looking like it's getting better soon.


So sorry your friend is having to go through this.

Two weeks is ludicrously soon

I thought at the start of all of this that the government better set aside a pretty huge wodge to pay for all the therapy NHS staff are going to need

That doesn't mean all hospitals are in the same predicament. So while I sympathise with your friend's horrendous experience, I think your OP fails to make any other effective point other than to give an insight into one public sector worker's experience in one NHS hospital.

Not just NHS staff. But they won't. The waiting for counselling will stay at around 15 weeks from seeing your GP and telling them you are suicidal.

The ones who die are all fat and old and deserve their fate. She should only treat non-COVID patients.





Sorry but she must put her long term health first.

The NHS is huumongous and she must not view it in terms of just her team. In my experience if the hospital trust needs a skill set they will (usually) get it- even if it costs a bloody fortune in day rates.

TELL>HER>TO>PUT>HERSELF>FIRST -even if only temp.


I say this a married to a surgeon who spent 1st lockdown on covid wards and as a former volunteer myself

This is sad and distressing for those involved but the danger with stories like this and the BBC's usual fare is that we end up with the tail wagging the dog. Someone or something is struggling, it gets reported in isolation and the upshot is we take draconian measures to address it, in the case of vuvu lockdowns affecting 70 million. That is not the way other issues are managed and shouldn't be the case here.

Did u know hospital beds in England have halved since 1987 while the population has increased by 10 million?

And obviously the NHS does things like work staff until they expire from stress

It's an awful thing that the path we're on now guarantees that the problem won't ever be solved

Austerity for another ten years, worse hospitals, worse health

FAOD the OP's friend should get and deserves help.

Lot of old folks in the SE of England.

I think it was on Question time last week, that someone was brave enough to challenge Covid death figures, when he said that in under 60's with no other morbidity issues, deaths were around 350 across the UK. This is compared to the number of people who drown each year, which is 400.

We are locking down the majority of the working population and destroying the economy, when we should just be shielding those with morbidty issues, and or those over 60 until there is a vaccine.


It's not just about deaths in the over 60s. Ravaged lungs and kidneys are  also a problem 


What Asturias said a million times. She needs to put herself first and get better. 

The NHS eats up and spits out staff. People working while unwell is too common. It’s their problem to get a locum. They will be able to get someone from an agency they just don’t want to pay. 

I agree with crypto. Added to this you have many people attracted to healthcare because they carry past trauma which they are trying (consciously or unconsciously) to heal by throwing themselves into caring for others, high rates of burn out and stress aren't surprising 

I thought this was going to be about carnal relations on an RAC call-out. Disappointing. 

Sad. Second the stuff about not working to the bone for the NHS. They don’t give a fook about staff.

Why has the OP ‘outed’ these poor folks, and splurged their confidential medical information on the Interweb...?

Outed her as a respiratory therapist somewhere in the south east?

Saying that there have only been X number of deaths in Y demographic and therefore it's not a problem misses the point.  Only about 10-12% of the population have had it so far, with some areas slightly higher - maybe 20% in London and some lower - about 5-6% in much of the south west.  All of the measures are about slowing, or managing the spread.  This has two effects: firstly, it reduces the rate at which people get severe symptoms and need treatment, making it more manageable in the NHS; and secondly, it reduces the likelihood of the outbreak spreading to those who are shielding, or taking extra care from coming into contact with others.  As more people get it, the ability to manage those risks decreases and it makes it more likely that vulnerable people will be exposed.  The Govt has got many things wrong with this (particularly over contracts and procurement), but the one thing it has, just about got right, is in mostly preventing the NHS as a whole from being overwhelmed, unlike large parts of Spain and Italy.  The fact that not many vulnerable people under 70 have died actually demonstrates that things have mainly worked and that those people who are independent (ie not in care homes and can therefore control their own risks) have largely managed to avoid catching it as a result.  It does not mean that those vulnerable people, had they been exposed, wouldn't have been seriously ill, or died - many absolutely would.  As has been said on similar threads before, this is all about pushing the point at which the majority of the population get it down the road until either it's manageable, or there is a vaccine (or several vaccines) which means that you can protect enough of the population to go back to something like normality.

It's a disease that most people don't know they have

A hospital that can't treat people is tough shit

A society that imprisons its population and is quite happy for teenagers to hang themselves in inevitable distress is a catastrophe

Lots of people will now die who would have lived if lockdown had not happened

Younger, more productive people with more responsibilities and more life years to lose


Wank off about how noble you are if you like

But you supported something shit and now you'll pay the price


"Only about 10-12% of the population have had it so far"

This is wrong. The figure given for the infections is the number of people who have had a positive test.

The actual number of people who may have had Covid could be far higher. I would suggest over 50% of the population.

I know of several people who have had very mild symptoms and not taken a test. I know of several who have had false positive tests.

The numbers are manufactured!

The number of people who have tested positive is approx 1.5m, which is roughly 2.2% of the population.

In August, Imperial College published a study - which was checking for antibodies.  It's not certain that everyone who had had covid would display antibodies (and still isn't), but this study suggest that at that time less than 6% of the population had had it, with about 13% in London. 

The last ONS data in October still put that figure (although it is the figure for testing done in September, published in October) at 5-6.2% in England, and 4.2-7.5% in Wales -

All of these figures are before the second wave really kicked off, but we know that the second wave has peaked slightly lower (in terms of serious cases, deaths and hospitalisations), albeit positive tests are far higher, as they were only testing people in ICU's in March and April.  It's very unlikely that the second wave has doubled the number of people who've had it, but even if it has, that puts it in the range I suggested.