Local Patients in Intensive Care Urge Everyone to Take COVID-19 Seriously

Two patients currently being treated for Covid-19 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Forth Valley Royal Hospital are urging people across the region to take Covid-19 seriously.

Ralph Rindfleisch (71) from Tullibody

Ralph Rindfleisch (71) from Tullibody

Ralph Rindfleisch (71) from Tullibody, who was taken to hospital by ambulance after he collapsed at home, said: “I have no idea how I caught it and I tried to be sensible with cleaning, washing and making sure people didn’t come to the house. Surely after nearly a year you would think the penny must have dropped but people must take this more seriously.”

Ralph praised the staff within the ICU and said, although it was difficult not having visitors, he is managing to keep in touch with his family regularly via telephone and video calls.

Thirty-five-year-old Richard Linning from Stenhousemuir is one of a number of younger patients currently being treated for Covid-19 within the ICU. He said: “The virus is out there, it’s transmittable and it’s deadly. Please take it seriously, listen to the advice, follow the rules and do what you can to protect yourself.”

Richard Linning (35) from Stenhousemuir

Richard Linning (35) from Stenhousemuir

Dr Fiona Mcilveney, Clinical Lead for Intensive Care, NHS Forth Valley, said: “We are definitely seeing more people in their thirties and forties with Covid-19 becoming seriously unwell. This is not a virus which just affects older people, it can affect people of all ages so everyone needs to be careful and follow the national guidance.”

More than 150 people who have tested positive for Covid-19 are currently being treated in hospital within Forth Valley which is more than twice the number being treated at the peak of the first wave. The level of transmission remains high with up to 100 new cases in the Forth Valley area being confirmed each day.

Heather Riddoch, ICU Senior Charge Nurse

Heather Riddoch, ICU Senior Charge Nurse

Heather Riddoch, ICU Senior Charge Nurse, said: “Forth Valley Royal Hospital is very busy treating patients with Covid-19 and a wide range of other health conditions. This is mirrored in our Intensive Care Unit where we continuing to care for patients with serious cardiac, stroke and respiratory illnesses.

“Covid-19 is very unpredictable and people can become unwell very quickly so we have adapted our ICU so that it is able to meet the changing needs of patients during the ongoing pandemic.”

The staff within ICU, as in many other parts of the NHS, have also had to change and adapt the way they work in response to Covid-19. There has been a shift to online learning, training in the use of new equipment and PPE as well as new ways of working.

Heather Riddoch explained: “The whole team has had to be very flexible and dynamic to deal with the many challenges and changes. One of the hardest things for patients is not having regular visitors so we have come up with new ways to help them stay in touch with their friends and family.

“This includes daily diaries which we can share with the family, arranging video consultations and sometimes just holding a phone at a patient’s ear so they can hear their loved ones.”

“Staff have gone above and beyond to care for patients and their families and I couldn’t be prouder of the entire team.”

This view was echoed by Dr Mcilveney who said: “The care and compassion our staff have shown has been exceptional and, despite the many challenges, we continue to deliver the absolute best for local patients and their families.”