"Between March and April, I visited over 50 hospitals to provide maintenance to oxygen installations. There were between four and seven emergencies a day - sometimes I had to manage two at the same time; while working at one hospital I had to respond to another site through video call. Dealing with all calls was essential in order to allow the hospitals to continue to treat patients. I am proud that we were and are able to keep the hospitals functioning at maximum capacity."
"Several hospitals in Wuhan asked us to upgrade or adapt their medical oxygen supply system. For example, at the Red Cross hospital, my team upgraded their current system and also installed a new one, allowing the hospital to increase its capacity. With no more cylinders to replace, healthcare professionals had more time to treat more patients.”
"During this crisis period, we offered to take over the monitoring of medical gases so that healthcare professionals could focus on their primary task: caring for patients. We’ve also expanded our workforce in certain facilities. It was an honor to see our technicians working alongside healthcare professionals and knowing they could count on us!"
Interview with Julie St-Pierre, Clinical Specialist-Ventilation and Respiratory Care Expert at Air Liquide healthcare / Vitalaire in Canada
What is your role at Air Liquide?
I am a clinical specialist at Air Liquide Healthcare/Vitalaire, working within the clinical affairs team. My role involves providing clinical support on our medical gases offer as well as our mobile medical ventilator, the Monnal T60. I also provide training to healthcare professionals on these medical devices, as well as 24/7 phone support and troubleshooting assistance for the clinicians who are using our delivery device to treat vulnerable lives with inhaled nitric oxide, a pulmonary vasodilator.
How have you reinvented your daily life and your way of working during the COVID-19 crisis?
I've been extremely busy! Being a mum of two children, I had to take care of them while being able to achieve my daily work, where I had to cope with urgent needs for critical care equipment to fight the pandemic. The severe form of COVID-19 can induce Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, a disease that requires the use of respiratory support such as oxygen, mechanical ventilation and inhaled nitric oxide. Since these products are all within our critical care product line, the demand for clinical support highly increased. We had to be agile and quickly deploy more devices, having to go onsite to set them up. An increased usage of inhaled nitric oxide also led to increased needs for technical and clinical support as well as troubleshooting assistance. We also deployed a great number of our Monnal T60 transport ventilators to new clients, new users who never had any training on this device.
What challenges have you faced?
Not being able to be physically present on site to provide training, answer clinical questions and make sure that the roll out of the new accounts goes smoothly was one of my greatest challenges. We had to be creative to provide support remotely. For example, we developed, within a week, a video for clinicians that would reproduce a complete, live training. We also ran webinars and 'questions and answers' sessions to address all their technical and clinical application questions.
What are you most proud of?
Being part of a great team that is making a huge difference in this war against COVID-19 certainly! We have been able to support clinicians at both a clinical and technical level. This, to ensure proper treatment and use of our products by the frontline staff and ultimately to help save lives, 24 hours a day.
What will you change in your daily life once the crisis is over?
I will definitely be more cautious about my interactions with others. Knowing how rapidly a virus can spread, I may think twice before shaking a hand and will be more cautious in keeping a safe distance from others.
"What makes me most proud is that, despite all the changes we’ve had to face and the concerns over this crisis, we’ve never stopped working. Our work is critical. It’s one of the reasons why we kept going. I will never forget the strength to move forward that I could see in each and every colleague and the tremendous sense of collaboration between all… The teamwork has been fantastic."
"As I could no longer visit my patients, I’ve had to change my working methods and offer follow-ups over the phone. This hasn’t changed the quality of the support process at all, as I access their data in a secure way. When they are worried, I take the time to reassure them and they are always grateful. In some situations I’m able to see my patients via video call, which makes me feel closer to them."
"I’m an infusion nutrition diabetes technician, but to meet the demands of this crisis I’ve resumed my first role at Orkyn' as a home healthcare technician so that I could support my colleagues. In the beginning, there were some concerns about the virus. But these worries have been eased thanks to the sanitary procedures put in place. In this situation, we can fully perform our duties as home healthcare providers while preventing overcrowding in hospitals."
"We’ve risen to a major challenge: equipping thousands of hospital beds across Brazil over a short period of time and providing the necessary equipment, despite numerous suppliers being shut down. In 30 days, we set up 3,200 hospital beds for COVID-19 patients with oxygen and compressed air, using 52,000 meters of piping. Every single team member has worked hard to tackle this challenge!"
Article published on July 25, 2020