[LINK] Pandemic pandemonium

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Jun 10 19:11:57 EST 2009

At 11:16 AM 10/06/2009, Jan Whitaker wrote:
>... The advice given by the government,  the Minister in fact, was 
>to call the GP. ...

The advice from the Australian Government for Individuals and 
households about influenza is at: 

It says to what to do if you get sick and how to treat children. It 
also says: "If you are concerned about your symptoms, or they become 
worse, you should immediately seek medical advice by phoning your 
General Practitioner, hospital or the H1N1 09 Hotline (180 2007)."

That is consistent with the Minister saying to call your GP.

>... A website will not help an individual make a diagnosis. It has 
>to be Real medical attention. ...

In the case of a pandemic, there will only be enough medical 
resources to treat a few of the most seriously ill people. Most 
people will have to be treated at home by family and volunteers.

>... If we can't deal with this level of disease situation, we're 
>sunk if there
>were a real medical emergency. ...

It is the nature of emergencies that at their height the public may 
have to look after itself. It is not feasible to train and equip 
sufficient experts for every contingency. This is no different in a 
health emergency.

Hospitals routinely use a system called Triage, to sort out which 
patients get treatment first: <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triage>. 
In the case of a pandemic, this will be applied on a large scale, 
with all but the most seriously ill being diverted away from the 
hospitals and doctors.

My suggestion is that the web can be used to help inform the 
community as to what to do, as advice is all that most people will get.

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  

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