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Austin Health’s Medical Director of ICU, A/Prof Stephen Warrillow, joined the Premier and Chief Health Officer at today’s daily media conference to talk about the impact of caring for COVID patient in ICU.
“The most important thing the community can do to allow us do our jobs is to get vaccinated,” A/Prof Warrillow said.
“If we are overwhelmed by demand from COVID patients, that necessarily impacts on our ability to care for other patients, so we’re really asking the community to do whatever it takes to get your vaccine.
“As we’ve heard, the best vaccine is the one you can get today,” he said.
A/Prof Warrillow said ICU is often the last line of defence for a patient.
“The impact on the lungs of COVID is like drowning on dry land, you just cannot get enough oxygen, you cannot get enough air no matter how much you try,” he said.
"It’s well understood that the people who are most vulnerable to COVID tend to be the older patients and those with other medical problems but these are in no way are the only patients we’ve cared for.
“The sickest patient I looked after last year was in their 40’s and previously really fit and well.
“It’s not just the lungs, other body organs can get dragged down with the critical illness and we see patients with failing kidneys or failing hearts and the immune system takes a hit or become too overactive. These are incredibly complicated challenges to manage.
“But getting critically ill from COVID doesn’t happen if you’re fully vaccinated. Severe COVID symptoms really only happen to those who are unvaccinated.
“If you’re fully vaccinated you may still be unlucky enough to get COVID but you’re not going to get critically ill, you’re not going to die and you’re not going to need intensive care support.
“The community can support us by getting vaccinated, follow the hand hygiene rules, socially distance, stay at home – do all the things that have been the mantra for the last 18 months and will keep us safe.
“No one wants to meet me or my team. By the time you get to ICU your life is really on the line- you really don’t want to be in a position where you need our care.
You can book your COVID-19 vaccination by clicking here - https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/book-your-vaccine-appointment