‘Beds were full’: John Pelekanos on being treated for COVID-19 twice at Westmead Hospital

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Westmead Hospital has been forced to enact disaster management plans, buckling under the strain of surging COVID-19 numbers in NSW.

In a note to colleagues last night seen by Nine News, Acting General Manager, Jenelle Matic, said the hospital was “no longer operating in a business-as-usual environment.”

The facility put a 24-hour pause on accepting any new coronavirus patients as it is already managing about 1,500 in the community and 121 in the wards.

57-year-old courier, John Pelekanos, told Nine News he knows the pressure Westmead Hospital is under better than most after two stints inside the facility with COVID-19.

“Beds were full, there were machines all over the place and the second time I left from [my house] I was in the car park for about four or five hours before I could see a doctor,” Mr Pelekanos told Nine News.

Although COVID-19 patients are now being sent away from the hospital to others as far away as Wollongong and the Northern Beaches, NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, insisted at a press conference on Wednesday the health system is not overwhelmed.

“I want to assure the community that we have been working as a health system on this since January and February last year and ensuring we have stepped up the number of available ICU beds, and staff working in those intensive care units, ventilators, but Westmead Hospital is typical of the sorts of pressures you’d expect when you got a major hospital in the middle of the epicentre of the virus outbreak,” Mr Hazzard said.

For Mr Pelekanos, his hospital experience has seen him switch from a ‘vaccine sceptic to a believer.’

“‘Uh it can’t happen to me,’ but you know what? It can happen to you, your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your uncle. It can be dire,” he said.

Source: Nine News.

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