NUH major trauma nurse joins international aid team in Bangladesh | Latest news

NUH major trauma nurse joins international aid team in Bangladesh

A trauma nurse at Nottingham's hospitals has returned to the UK after joining an international aid mission to help thousands of people at risk of deadly diphtheria outbreak in Bangladesh.

Naomi Thompson-Taylor, a major trauma nurse from West Bridgford, joined the UK's Emergency Medical Team in December to help treat people in refugee camps infected with the fast-spreading disease that is mostly affecting children.

Naomi said: "The whole experience was eye opening and it felt good to be able to make a difference to these people. We were providing one to one care for each patient - although my background is major trauma the experience was about providing good nursing care as there were patients at different stages with the disease and some were extremely poorly."

More than 40 British medics including doctors, nurses and paramedics from the UK's Emergency Medical Team spent six weeks in Cox's Bazar, a town on the South-East coast of Bangladesh, to help bring the outbreak under control.

At its peak there were reported 160 new cases of diphtheria every day in Cox's Bazar which is home to more than half a million Rohingya people.  

The 32 year-old nurse said: "The conditions in camp were very difficult, as it was very overcrowded and access to clean water and sanitation was difficult.

"I will never forget my first patient, a little boy around eight years old who was quiet and very sick, after giving him the anti-toxin infusion he slept for a couple of hours and when we woke him up, he was able to eat and we sat colouring for the rest of my shift. He is the first paediatric patient I have ever treated and it was nice to see such a quick improvement in his condition - this gave me hope that the treatment we were giving really made a difference."

Naomi has worked as a trauma nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals for the last five years and is currently working in the surgery division.  A self-confessed 'nursing nerd', Naomi described the experience in Cox's Bazar as one of the reasons she decided to go into nursing.

She said: "This was my first humanitarian work overseas and the experience was amazing, I didn't want to leave and would go back in a heartbeat! I enjoy being able to care for people in any environment and this has given me a real insight into humanitarian nursing and I want to see and do more. I can't thank the Trust, my managers and the hospital team enough for their support in allowing me to help in this humanitarian crisis."

The UK's Emergency Medical Team spent six weeks in total, triaging more than 3,000 Rohingya people and it was thought that without international aid 500 people would not have survived.

The team have all returned home from Cox's Bazar with the outbreak now under control, local Bangladesh health professionals have taken over from the UK clinicians with the aim to clear the disease from the camps.

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