The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM; the College) is aware of an emergency medicine trainee in Melbourne who is currently gravely ill in hospital with COVID-19.
This is a deeply distressing development and our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the doctor concerned, their family, friends and colleagues, as they are with all healthcare workers affected by this terrible virus. We are all hoping for their recovery.
ACEM is aware that this development, as well as the ongoing situation, will be cause for distress and concern among members and trainees, and continues to offer an assistance program to provide support for those who need it.
Our emergency medicine workforce and community is facing an incredibly difficult time at the moment, and we all need to be there to support each other.
COVID-19 continues to present significant risks, and the College is deeply concerned about the number of infections among healthcare workers. These risks are further exacerbated by the lack of inpatient beds currently facing many hospitals and the long periods of time that patients wait in emergency departments for an inpatient bed.
We need to understand more about how and where these infections are occurring, including through greater transparency and reporting of official data.
All healthcare workers have a right to be safe at work, and this needs to be at the very top of the priority list for governments, health departments, healthcare systems and hospitals. We need the best protection available, including consistent PPE guidelines and reliable access to N95 masks and face shields.
We are unable to offer further details or comment on the affected individual’s circumstances at this time, and ask that their privacy is respected.
ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards. www.acem.org.au