An Intensive Care consultant from University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust is taking part in an international ski-mountaineering challenge to raise awareness and funds for the support of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, doctors and others who were left traumatised by their experiences of COVID.
Mike Margarson, who has worked as a consultant in the ICU at St Richards Hospital, Chichester for the past 21 years, is part of a team of 6 climbing and skiing the Patrouille des Glaciers Route, a high altitude trek originating from the Swiss-Italian border patrols of the second world war.
The team, a combination of ICU consultants and parents of ICU workers from across the UK, are taking on the challenge to raise money for Doctors in Distress (despite the name supporting all health professionals) and the Intensive Care Society.
Mike said: “A lot of ICU staff, especially the younger ones, were left in a very bad way from their COVID experiences. This was a disease that frequently progressed despite all our efforts, and staff felt powerless, utterly helpless at times.”
“We’ve seen lots of PTSD, depression, sickness and absence. It was grim. Up and down the whole country.”
“The Intensive Care Society was approached by the 58 year-old father of a junior doc from the Royal Free ICU, who ended up unable to return to work after her experiences. The father, a ski-mountaineering enthusiast, wanted to do something to raise awareness of, and to raise funds for the support of those suffering from the consequences of all this. I applied and was accepted.”
“As a senior consultant of 59 years, there has already been a solid effort in training for the challenge, but it’s for a great cause. The ‘Clap for the NHS’ was a morale booster, but some need so much more.
“Whatever we raise will be split equally between the 2 charities and I hope will do some real good.”
Mike added: “I am excited but also a little apprehensive, I haven’t really done anything like this before. When the kit list arrived, including full climbing harness, 2 types of crampons and an ice axe, I did have a few thoughts.”
The Swiss Army’s Patrouille des Glaciers is a ski-mountaineering challenge that leads from Zermatt to Verbier through the high-altitude mountain regions of the Valais Alps. The team will begin the 4 day challenge on Tuesday 22nd March, and reach the highest point of their trek on the 2-year Anniversary of the first COVID lockdown,
Further details are available at Justgiving.