Mental health and the pandemic
Fourteen months into the global pandemic, even if you allow yourself permission to imagine a return to more normal times in the not too distant future, the complete story of COVID-19’s toll on society will likely not emerge for a while still. This includes the full effect on our mental health stemming from the anxiety, fear, isolation, financial hardship, and other stressors felt by many since early 2020.
From tests to vaccines: the lab’s role in a pandemic
The importance of testing to confirm COVID-19 infections has drawn new attention to the role of our healthcare labs. At Royal Columbian Hospital, the lab has a long history that goes back more than 100 years. Nowadays, with more than 5-million tests performed a year and with the generous support of donors to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, the hospital’s Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department helps in over 80-percent of medical diagnoses. And that was before the pandemic struck.
Planning for a pandemic
Pandemics and infection control measures have long been on the radar of healthcare planners. Previous international outbreaks, including SARS and Ebola, have made the topic a key consideration in the design of hospitals, including Royal Columbian Hospital’s current $1.49 billion redevelopment.
Roger Pinette’s story
Roger Pinette had been feeling unwell for a few days, struggling with a bad cough, headaches, a fever, and fatigue. They are the type of symptoms that have come to be associated with COVID-19, but back in early March 2020 it was not yet front and centre in people’s minds. It would be several weeks before the 72-year-old Langley resident would learn he had contracted a near fatal case of the respiratory illness, only hearing the news after he had awoken from a lengthy stay in Royal Columbian Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.
Vince Li’s Story
26-year-old Vince Li had been battling a fever for several days in March 2020 when he made his way to the hospital in Burnaby. The results of an X-ray and blood test revealed tell-tale signs of COVID-19. Doctors decided to immediately sedate, intubate, and send the young man to Royal Columbian Hospital, one of the province’s primary COVID-19 sites. There, he became the youngest COVID-positive patient to be mechanically ventilated in the hospital’s intensive care unit during the pandemic’s spring peak.