Royal Free hosts band of hero bikers delivering life-saving oxygen support to coronavirus patients at home
- Credit: PA
A fleet of volunteer bikers are delivering life-saving medical devices from the Royal Free to the homes of vulnerable coronavirus patients across London.
The 200-strong team of motorcyclists are dropping off pulse oximeters so that patients considered to be at high risk of “silent hypoxia” can measure their oxygen saturation levels.
The Urgent Oximeter Rescue service was developed GP Dr Sharon Raymond, who has set up the Covid Crisis Response (CCR) charity, working alongside The Bike Shed Motorcycle Club and disaster response charity Team Rubicon UK.
She said that silent hypoxia was when the patient’s body’s oxygen levels can drop to potentially dangerous level without them realising it.
But the pulse oximeters allow patients who are at risk of rapid deterioration due to the disease to monitor their oxygen levels before they fall dangerously low.
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Doctors in north-central London can request that one is delivered to a patient through a 24-hour helpline and the bikers aim to deliver the device to the patient’s home within 90 minutes of an order.
The motorcyclists practice social distancing and do not ring the doorbell or knock but leave the device outside and the patient receives a text confirming it has arrived.
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Once a patient has a device a clinician should then call them within two hours to reassess them with the benefit of an oxygen saturation and pulse reading.
If identified as having silent hypoxia the patient can be taken to hospital for further treatment.
Dr Raymond said: “We know that some patients with Covid-19 can develop ‘silent hypoxia’ where pneumonia can result in a steep fall in the body’s oxygen levels without the patient even realising.
“Unfortunately by the time patients have noticeable trouble breathing and present at hospital their condition may have deteriorated dramatically.
“This could really help us get people the help they desperately need.
“Using the biking community to deliver this kit to patients most at risk could be instrumental in saving lives.”
The service is funded purely through charitable donations and is asking for support through the CCR’s JustGiving page.