Dr. Randy Wax at Lakeridge Health Oshawa fighting COVID-19 in the Durham Region
Expertise on the front lines at our Hospitals is critical to fighting COVID-19 in the Durham Region. Sought-after critical care doctor at Lakeridge Health Oshawa, Dr. Randy Wax, seeks to, in turn, thank you, our community!
Dr. Randy Wax, a 20-year veteran of critical care medicine and expert at Lakeridge Health is leading the response to COVID-19 both locally and around the world. His experience on the front lines during SARS coupled with his critical care and disaster management knowledge has made Dr. Wax a sought-after medical professional during the pandemic.
Dr. Wax has worked diligently to ensure the lessons learned through his experience with SARS have been disseminated to his colleagues all around the world. Since January, he has published four papers on the importance of critical care and safety practices in the Intensive Care Unit, and in Anesthesia and Emergency Departments. “Even though COVID-19 is much more complicated than SARS, everything we learned from that experience is applicable to this pandemic,” shares Dr. Wax. One of his recent papers has been downloaded 80,000 times around the globe and cited 150 times in research papers about COVID-19.
He has been involved in the development of a number of new protocols and processes for Ontario and at Lakeridge Health including the ‘Protected Code Blue’ which increases safety measures for staff responding to COVID-19 positive patients.
Dr. Wax is so proud of his critical care colleagues and the innovations they’ve developed to keep safe while still ensuring a positive patient experience.
“Sometimes small changes,” explains Dr. Wax, “can still make a big difference. The team added extensions to the tubes used with IV pumps so that staff could administer medications quickly without entering the room.”
Ensuring patients have the medications or fluids they need right away is vital but the realities of COVID-19 mean that any additional visits inside a patient room require staff to put on new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The ‘dawning and doffing’ of PPE, or the act of taking it on and off, must occur with each patient and at every new interaction. While these new safety protocols make for more complicated patient care processes, Dr. Wax explains that the team’s dedication to the patient experience hasn’t changed. The multi-disciplinary teams looking after our COVD-19 positive patients include doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, dietary aides, and many more. Each team member plays an important role in the care of patients.
Small celebrations occur when patients are extubated. When an individual becomes stable and moves out of the critical care unit, the teams line the halls and do a clap-out. Dr. Wax also explains that the human connection remains an important part of care - even behind a mask, we can tell when colleagues and patients are smiling at each other.
Dr. Wax and his team also take advantage of the Hospital’s new Virtual Connections program that uses iPads to connect patients and families during strict visitor restrictions. Thanks to donations from the Durham Fights COVID-19 fundraising campaign the program launched a few weeks ago and has been an important tool for the critical care team.
“In one instance, we extubated a patient and were able to surprise their family through video chat,” reflects Dr. Wax. “It was emotional for everyone involved.”
As a critical care doctor, Dr. Wax has been working around the clock since January when medical professionals like him began planning for the pandemic response in Canada. “For the first few months, I felt like I needed every hour of every day to both better understand COVID-19 and ensure medical professionals were armed with the best information to battle the virus and keep safe.”
Today, Dr. Wax feels that he and his colleagues have a good grasp of the disease and how to treat it. At Lakeridge Health specifically, Dr. Wax says his colleagues are leaders in the COVID-19 response provincially, nationally, and beyond.
"Without a doubt, our critical care services are world class,” says Dr. Wax. “We are teaching others how to do things right, we’re guiding other Hospitals and we’re doing it with a focus on high quality care, innovation and compassion. We should all be proud of our local health system."
Dr. Wax wants everyone in the Durham Region to know how grateful he is for them as well. “The reason we’ve had such good mortality rates, that we’ve had more positive outcomes, is because our units have not been flooded with critical patients,” says Dr. Wax. “This is directly related to the sacrifices our Durham Region community has made by staying home and following social distancing practices.”
You can follow Dr. Wax as he shares his knowledge and updates about COVID-19 response on Twitter.
“When you give to Lakeridge Health, you’re not just helping us provide better care, you’re keeping us safe, you’re saving lives and you’re investing in health care expertise for the entire province! Thank you so much for your support.”
You can help support Lakeridge Health front line heroes like Dr. Wax by making a donation online at DurhamFightsCOVID19.ca