Tributes flow for Sydney’s hospital heroes
RESPIRATORY doctor Ben Harris will be bringing a lifetime's training to bear as he and his colleagues prepare for the expected spike in coronavirus cases.
He is one of NSW's frontline health heroes The Daily Telegraph is campaigning for as they man our last line of defence in the war on coronavirus.
Dr Harris's unit at the Royal North Shore Hospital is already dealing with coronavirus victims struggling to breathe and is anticipating a lot more.
"We have already had coronavirus patients in the hospital and we have some here now," Dr Harris, 45, said yesterday.
"We are certainly preparing for the virus to peak," he said. "I wouldn't say we are nervous about it but there is some concern about what is coming.
"However we are well prepared and we have put in place a number of preparations that are completely scalable."
Dr Harris, a father of three, welcomed the campaign to acknowledge our health heroes. "It is important for everyone to remember the medical workforce are humans and have lives outside of work," he said.
The campaign's call for benefits for health workers including free parking near hospitals has been backed by the Health Services Union.
NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said: "The Daily Telegraph's advocacy of hospital workers is powerful and gratifying.
"As we confront the greatest health challenge in a generation every link in the hospital chain needs to be appreciated. Whether it's a cleaner, security officer, ICU nurse, paramedic or doctor, everyone has a critical job to do," he said.
"One of the best things we can right now is give our hospital workers as few worries as possible. We are very keen to join with Telegraph in pushing for the abolition of hospital parking fees for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis."
In the hours after the campaign was launched more than 120 people from across NSW wrote to thank medical workers who are exposing themselves to the risk, with some separating themselves from their families for weeks to avoid transmitting the virus.
"Having a mum as a Registered Nurse of 19 years I know the stress you carry coming home from work and the pressure involved in the job, let alone watching someone take their last breath," Jacinda Nicholl said. "If I won a lotto I would buy you all a box of chocolates."
"Thank you for everything you do, it's because of you I still have my loved ones today."
Parramatta local Michael Smole said: "A big thank you to the nurses and medical staff of Westmead Hospital Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit who have had to suffer the indignity of being assaulted, abused and threatened by repugnant attendees at such facilities."
"And yet turn the other cheek and provide such great and essential service to the community and at risk to themselves in times like this.
"It is timely to remember that in Italy some 46 doctors have died and I would imagine a substantial number of nurses as a result of these viruses."
Originally published as Tributes flow for Sydney's hospital heroes