Saving lives with pulse oximeters

Submitted by Lucy
HaemOnc Unit Manager, RSCH

We decided in September of 2020 to send Pulse Oximeters to our clinically extremely vulnerable haematology patients who tested positive for Covid, to help us spot signs of a drop in oxygen levels.

We further decided to ring all suspected and confirmed Covid patients at home to triage them daily. As the list grew longer the emotional effect this had on me personally, grew.

I, however, personally volunteered to lead on this, with the help of my brilliant band 6’s.

Although it was often very intensely draining and there were days when we had very difficult conversations with very scared patients, we saved lives by using this simple piece of machinery.

If the patient’s oxygen saturations dropped below a certain level, we advised them to go to A&E with the covering letter from myself, even if they felt well.

I recently met a patient in our haematology day unit, who I sent to A&E with low oxygen levels. Even though he felt ok and understandably didn’t want to go, he was admitted and treated for Covid. I have no doubt of the outcome had we not followed this process. It was so nice to see him!

The importance of these Pulse Oximeters was published a few months later and I am so glad that my consultants thought of the idea months before and that we acted on it.

There were very depressing days where we lost community patients who were very well known to us and my resilience had to be strong, but I am very proud that we looked after our community patients in this way.

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