‘My heart is bro­ken’

NHS doc­tor to live in mo­torhome to pro­tect son

The Guardian - - News Coronaviru­s - Jes­sica Mur­ray

An NHS in­ten­sive-care doc­tor work­ing on the front­line of the coro­n­avirus cri­sis has moved into a mo­torhome to pro­tect his three-year-old son, who is bat­tling can­cer.

Nick Den­ni­son is an anaes­thetist at Frim­ley Park hospi­tal in Sur­rey, but is now work­ing as an in­ten­sive-care doc­tor to help put the most ill Covid-19 pa­tients on ven­ti­la­tors.

His son, Al­fie, has re­cently started a three-year chemo­ther­apy pro­gramme

as he fights can­cer. Den­ni­son is to move out of the fam­ily home so he can con­tinue treat­ing coro­n­avirus pa­tients with­out putting Al­fie at risk.

“I have had to make the dif­fi­cult choice: to do my job and save lives of peo­ple I don’t know, or to be with my son whilst he bat­tles can­cer,” Den­ni­son wrote in a Face­book post that has been shared more than 91,000 times. “This virus is a big threat to his life and as I am go­ing to be ex­posed this week do­ing my job, I can no longer live at home.

“Later this week I’ll be mov­ing into a mo­torhome and will not be able to

take any fur­ther part in his care for the next six months.”

Al­fie turned three last week and is suf­fer­ing from lym­phoma, which af­fects the im­mune sys­tem.

“Al­fie hope­fully will sur­vive his can­cer and chemo, but many peo­ple will die from flu,” said Den­ni­son. “My heart is bro­ken mak­ing this de­ci­sion, but I choose to save the lives of strangers and leave him in the care of my beau­ti­ful wife and fam­ily.”

On Sun­day, Frim­ley Park hospi­tal re­ported the deaths of five pa­tients who had tested pos­i­tive for Covid-19 and Den­ni­son said the in­ten­sive-care

unit was al­ready full, with 12 pa­tients on ven­ti­la­tors af­ter catch­ing Covid-19.

His post fin­ished with a plea to the pub­lic to phys­i­cally dis­tance them­selves from oth­ers to limit the spread of dis­ease and ease the bur­den on al­ready stretched NHS ser­vices.

“Pubs have been busy, of­fices open, so­cial events hap­pen­ing, kids par­ties etc. It all needs to stop,” he said.

“In­fected peo­ple shed virus … It is your so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­gage in so­cial dis­tanc­ing. Ac­tions NOW can pre­vent fur­ther dis­ease trans­mis­sion, ICU ad­mis­sions and deaths in 10-20 days. Bot­tom line.”

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