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Dr Catherine Nix in plea to public “to make sure Lombardy does not come to Limerick”

We need to be cautious about the spread of the coronavirus. #Mobilize4Lives

Dr Catherine Nix in plea to public “to make sure Lombardy does not come to Limerick”

Dr Catherine Nix in University Hospital Limerick says we need to “all work together now” to make sure the hospital doesn’t get “overwhelmed” with the Coronavirus.

Dr Nix, an anesthetist and resuscitator, called on the public’s help from “the ground up” to help slow down the spread of Covid-19.

“We need to make sure Lombardy does not come to Limerick,” Dr Nix told the Limerick Leader this Thursday.

“As a frontline ICU medic I know that I am going to have to be part of the teams that will be asked to put in approximately 100 breathing tubes in two to three weeks time unless Covid-19 is curbed. China and South Korea have shown that it can be curbed even when an outbreak happens in a nearby place,” she continued.

Dr Nix says UHL management and senior UHL ICU consultants have a “surge plan” in place. In addition, she is calling out to people in the Mid-West to do anything to reduce the surge of cases.

She said the teams in UHL can put 100 breathing tubes sequentially into patients, just not all at the same time if it becomes an outbreak.  Wearing protective equipment is necessary for every action as a result.


UHL management and senior UHL ICU consultants have a ‘surge plan’ in place. Above is a picture of the UHL.

“The hub hospital in Lombardy is in Milan. They made 500 ICU beds in two weeks and it still wasn’t enough. China took some pretty serious measures to make sure Wuhan didn’t come to Beijing or Shanghai. We need to make sure Lombardy does not come to Limerick.”

Dr Nix says the hub hospital in the Mid-West is UHL. She said, “If we have an outbreak like Lombardy – and our figures are going in that direction on all the graphs – UHL will be asked to put breathing tubes in 100 people in about two to three weeks time.  We have around 84 ventilators but just 12 staffed ICU beds with full teams. The machines aren’t as much as a problem as the space to put people and people to mind the patients on the ventilators. 

“This virus doesn’t discriminate who it infects. Most get better. It does affect more older folks and more vulnerable people than younger people but some of the critically ill (5 out of every 100 who get the virus) will be young people. What we know from the stats is 20 out of 100 people get seriously ill and five need breathing tubes,” said Dr Nix, who referenced the situation in Lombardy in Italy.

“There is an Italian ICU doctor @silviast9 who tweeted that he didn’t even get to assess people before they died during the surge week. If Limerick becomes like Lombardy then UHL will not be able to cope. Once the system is overwhelmed there will be no doctor to see you as it is overwhelmed. We need to make sure the system doesn’t get overwhelmed. We can do that if we all work together now,” said Dr. Nix.

She says we will have to give the 250 people that the Government has just allocated to National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) a chance to contact trace.  

“We have to find out the accurate prevalence of Covid-19 in our community. There are already community-acquired cases of Covid-19 in our hospitals and NPHET hasn’t been able to release details yet of how they got it – they know those patients didn’t travel to Lombardy or Wuhan. They weren’t a contact of another case. ”

“NPHET describes them as community-acquired cases. We have to shut down and do social distancing and let NPHET catch up with the real prevalence of the disease out there. NPHET is doing a really tough job at a really tough time – we need to support them,” said Dr Nix.

Consequently, the doctor said, “We need volunteers but they have to be managed by community leaders. This virus lives on metal surfaces for over three days sometimes. We have to start washing and disinfecting.”

“Volunteers and government officials are doing this in South Korea. We have to temperature check everyone who arrives through our airports or ports. It might be social distancing. It might be liaising with a community leader either to contact trace or disinfect or being a keyboard warrior and educating your community,” she added.

Dr Nix also suggests using the hashtag #Mobilize4Lives on social platforms. Her twitter handle is @NixLimerick.

In addition, China has also succeeded at curbing Covid 19. In Dr Bruce Aylward’s words, they are capable of “Extraordinary Mobilization”. They organized it from the top-down and the ground up.

Ireland is capable of “Extraordinary Mobilization”. Subsequently, this may need to be a “from the ground up style” in addition to political leadership.

Government, Public Health, Generals, Mavens, Footsoldiers, Community leaders, social media whizzes and our local community need to be cautious.

Each Hospital Group has a Hub Hospital.

The Generals: Those in charge of the surge planning at the Hub Hospital.
Mavens: Those professionally connected with the Generals & the Footsoldiers.
The Footsoldiers: Healthcare professionals, nurses & doctors; testers; IT engineers & more Community leaders: Those interconnected in the community to disseminated accurate information about hospital prevalence of Covid 19 & delegate necessary tasks to volunteers…A Politician from each county, Educators, Religious leaders & more

The Community has a lot to do including self-isolate, contact trace, spray disinfectant and more.

The information must flow rapidly from each level of this group to the other via the Maven(s).

For more information on Coronavirus, click here.

For more stories on University Hospital Limerick, click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.