AT YOUR SERVICE – Marco Costa

“Marco Costa, Medical Equipments Application Supervisor, servicing hospitals in Milan, Italy, tells his story of facing the current healthcare crisis head-on.”

We are at your service. During the current healthcare crisis our technicians are working on the front lines alongside healthcare professionals to make sure patients can be diagnosed and treated. These are their stories. This series will be updated weekly.

First there was the focus on an area other than our core. From mammograms, attention has drastically turned to mobile x-ray systems for examinations on bedridden patients: an important product category, but so far not predominant.

Within a few days, we had to put the mammography equipment into the background, to which we devote great energy and planning every day, to devote all our efforts to an area that has become very topical, namely chest exams. I never imagined that I would have to put the chest exam back in the first place … This is because chest exam is currently the only exam that patients with COVID 19 have to undergo in order to have an assessment of the progress of related diseases, such as pneumonia.

After the first moment of surprise, a great sense of concern crept into me. I started thinking about my team of application specialists, i.e. those who have the fundamental and critical task of carrying out all the testing activities of the equipment installed at customers. For example, instruction to radiology technicians and assessment of the quality of the radiographic image.

Never as at this time, has it become of primary importance to know the procedures for accessing hospital facilities, it is essential to know in which environment you will have to operate, which PPE to wear ….

Yes… the PPE …. not that I previously underestimated them indeed, there are well-tested internal procedures but, the awareness of accessing a high-risk environment has led me to reconsider the importance of personal protective equipment. “the PPE I will wear is saving my life” This is a slightly different thought. It is a thought that on one hand reassures; on the other, it puts some tension.

I do not think to extremes, I assure you that when you enter a hospital today and later in a radiology, compulsorily following a pre-established path to try to minimize potential contagion, the tension is felt.

We then run to prepare all the possible and imaginable PPE (with the poor colleague Luca who, for his part, does his utmost to meet all needs), we become experts in the certification of the masks, we prepare all the material and pack boxes on boxes to be sent to application specialists who live far away. And of course, the collection of the material is arranged for those who will be able to pass in person.

It is a feverish activity, which we now carry out with our eyes closed. I now spend a lot of my working time contacting clients to find out how they should behave once they arrive at the hospital, which PPE they recommend to wear, which safety procedures must be followed. Then … then finally the real work begins.

Once in the hospital, we begin to educate the staff, very few people at a time, in a protected environment. Everyone wears a mask and gloves and the atmosphere becomes surreal. It is at that moment that you realize that you are carrying out an activity useful to others, to those who work on the front lines. To those who are struggling without ever giving up.

In these critical moments, also happened to me to intervene in an installation since the whole team was fully engaged in the field. It was my first experience linked to this pandemic.

I wore an FFP3 mask for 3 hours and I assure you that at the end of the surgery I was a rag, certainly also thanks to the great tension accumulated, I was having difficulty breathing. Since then I have never stopped thinking about the sanitary workers who must wear it during these gruelling work shifts these days. I was the first to experience touching this new reality with my own hands, and often during the day I asked myself if I had done everything I could to protect my colleagues.

Then when you prepare to return home in the evening, the thought goes to loved ones, my wife, my daughter and then you would like to stay in your car, in the parking lot under the house to avoid any contagion but, then take courage and try to take all necessary precautions and go ahead, continuing to give your support.”

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