Specialist registrar in geriatric medicine
Sonal Sharma has worked at Barnet Hospital since early 2017. She’s a senior registrar specialising in geriatric medicine.
“Back in March 2020, within a matter of weeks, most of Barnet Hospital’s beds were full of COVID patients and the ward I had been working on transformed into a specialist COVID ward. I got infected with COVID in April and also passed it to my husband. It was an exhausting and energy-sapping isolation period at home before returning to work.
“The last few months have been quite an experience. COVID came like a tsunami overnight. Nobody knew what was happening and it was a struggle at the beginning. It was a matter of survival. With the evolving steep learning curve around understanding this illness, and with the help of data gathered from clinical trials, we now have evidence-based treatments and drugs in our armoury, like dexamethasone, to help patients.”
“What has also been incredibly helpful right from the start is our ‘COVID huddle’ where we speak about the patients every day. There’s representation from respiratory, microbiology, radiology, the patient-at-risk nurses and intensive care. It’s about putting the jigsaw together to help us diagnose suspected COVID patients from non-COVID patients and put them on the right treatment pathway.”
“Having more treatment options and a better understanding of the trajectory of this illness means we are now able to anticipate the disease course earlier to give optimal care to patients. I am now hopeful with the new vaccine; however we have a long winter ahead of us.”
“It has been an overwhelming journey with lots of ups and downs. I think as staff, we have shared the joy and journey of patients who survived and went back home to their families, but we have also shared the grief of patients and their families who didn’t make it”.
“I feel lucky and proud to be part of our NHS health system and to be able to offer my services in these trying times.”