On World Asthma Day this year a report into the number of asthmas deaths was released. It was shocking. I was shocked and could never imagine how so many people could die from asthma….but then again after what I experienced recently I can quiet believe how the statistics are so shocking.
The report can be found in the link below
and Asthma UK’s summary of the report can be read here
The report looks at the number of people who have died due to a number of different situations when then lead to asthma becoming a killer.
I have to hold my hands up and admit I am not perfect and never used to take my asthma seriously and never thought that asthma could kill. I would live life on the edge. I would do thinks which would run in a very high risk of causing an asthma attack. I did not always comply with medication. I just did not take it seriously. However after one too many close calls and far to many admissions to Intensive Care I have acknowledged my condition and understand how serious it could be. I understand the implications of not taking my medication. I know my symptoms and know when to get help and not just try and deal with it myself. This is great to be able to do but what happens when you stand up an take responsibility and no one else around you does and you are not supported.
This is how I felt the other day. I identified I was getting worse. I was almost at maximum home treatment so before I got to that point I got help. Or at least tried to.
What is the point in trying to get help if medical professionals don’t take it seriously. If a patient recognises their symptoms are getting worse surly treating them there and then is better than just seeing what happens and run the very high risk of the patient getting worse and needing further intervention which in turn costs the cash strapped NHS even more money than would have been needed in the first place.
I feel very strongly that in some cases the fault lies with the medical professionals, particularly those on the front line. I understand not all are at fault but some are. I also understand that the pressures on the front line staff are phenominal but surly treating someone before they get worse is much better than allowing them to get worse and then treat.
The events that happened which can be read in the password protected post would possibly make me reconsider getting help early and try and deal with it myself at home. As a result of the events I did end up dealing with the majority at home and then getting some help. This is not the message which we should be sending out yet it is how I feel. I would hate to think how others feel but sadly a lot of my asthmatics friends feel the same way. The feel they are wasting medics time when presenting with moderate asthma symptoms which are getting worse but they are not having a full blown attack. It will come soon that the number of deaths caused by asthma will rise unless change happens on the front line.
I am very lucky that I have been offered the chance to put together my own emergency care plan with input from all medical professionals who look after my care. This will hopefully mean that when I do need medical help action will be taken as it will highlight how quickly I can get worse and that generally if I do turn up asking for help it is for a reason and not just to waste time!! It will also include allergies an diet requirements and also little things such as where to take ABG’s from. This may sound trivial but she you can’t speak because your fighting for breath and a Dr is coming at you with a gas syringe you don’t exactly have the puff t tell them where to go and to argue if they are going in the right place. Drs will often look at my left wrist and see how scarred it is from previous A-lines and blood gases that they go for my right wrist. There is a reason the left is in a total state and that is because a vein runs straight over the top of the artery in my right wrist meaning every sample comes back venous. So having this in a care plan will be a reduction in stabs which are really not required. It will also state what treatment is needed and in what order.
As an advocate for asthma I can only hope that change happens soon and more people realise that treating mild asthma symptoms quickly can prevent a very slippery slope developing which could ultimately result in death. Very dramatic I know but it is true.
I hope that with the continued cross party group meetings for Asthma and the new Research Centre of Excellence for Asthma that change can be made and asthma will be given the recognition it deserves!