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My Interview with a HSE "COVID Consultant"
The real Covid-19 picture from within the Irish Health Service.
Last night, I got the opportunity to interview a senior HSE doctor working in an acute Irish public hospital - treating Covid patients. On social media, he uses the Twitter handle “HSE COVID Consultant” to anonymously tweet his day-to-day thoughts on all things coronavirus. Although there is no official classification of “Covid Consultant” in the Irish health system the description is quite an accurate one, once this doctor related to me his specific day-to-day duties in managing and responding to the disease within his hospital. The HSE Covid Consultant would prefer to remain anonymous but I don’t think he will mind me saying that he is a medical professional of some gravitas on the subject of Covid-19 within the hospital setting in which he currently works.
Before we dive into this interview I want to set it against a backdrop. A backdrop of rising noise currently emanating from HSE officialdom and some other medical professionals that are prepared to publicly speak about Covid-19. The sense one gets from these individuals is of a dangerous virus again on the march. Whispers of mask mandates and a necessity for other societal measures come autumn. As the latest example of this - we had Dr. Bill Tormey wheeled out onto Newstalk earlier in the week. Undoubtedly a man with some standing in his profession as a consultant in the Beaumont hospital but one should also note that the good doctor was also a former Fine Gael county councillor, in a previous life. Not averse to politics or public opinions in other words. Dr Tormey had the following to say about masks on Newstalk:
"“…..is something that we can anticipate will probably be needed in the autumn…..Respiratory viruses should be met with an increase in masking, because the only thing that actually helps in these circumstances is masking in the population”
Masking in the population. How wonderful. So, as you can see, the current coronavirus narrative is setting up for an autumn of face cloths and further booster shots. What strikes me most about comments like the one above and many others, is not that they come out of the mouths of people, past and present, partially responsible for one of the worst health systems in Europe but rather the casual arrogance frequently on display. This sense of entitlement to claim ownership of parts of our individual freedoms. It is not even an open question in their minds anymore. Post the arrival of Covid, we pay for incompetence not merely with our tax money anymore, but increasingly now with fractions of our individual freedoms as well.
Against this setting of the scene - comes a wide-ranging ninety minute chat with the HSE Covid Consultant. A doctor actually working in the Covid-19 arena on a daily basis not merely pontificating about masking 5 million people from an ivory television or radio tower. I think it is fair to say that his thoughts on Covid-19 shifted as the evidence before his eyes also started to change direction. I did not get the sense that he is a reactionary figure or someone given to hyperbole. A dedicated and thoughtful individual was my overall lasting impression of him. What I did find is a professional embarrassed by the ever widening differential between what is really happening in our hospital system in relation to this disease and what is being reported and portrayed in the media by a certain cohort of the HSE, NPHET and NIAC. We spent a good portion of our interview talking about the seriousness of that initial Wuhan strain of coronavirus. So, this is not some maverick just shooting the breeze for the sake of causing trouble. In essence, what this discussion shows is that our health service, government and media never pivoted away from the tools of that initial strain and still insist on scaring our elderly and vulnerable groups, with each new strain, like its March 2020 all over again.
GON: The announcement of a vaccine in November 2020 was a game-changer but was also the beginning of the huge divide we saw come later in terms of vaccine passports and societal split. What were your own views at this time?
HSE CC: Ok. I think back to the swine flu over a decade ago now, where a vaccine was produced quickly. I got it - along with most health care staff at the time. I would have had a lot of reservations about that vaccine as it was produced in a hurry. Now, I’ll add to this that I would have been one who was supportive of the flu jab every year. I would have had similiar reservations as with the swine flu in relation to these new vaccines that came out for Covid-19 on this occasion. Again, Number 1 they were produced very quickly, And Number 2 they used a technology that none of us are familiar with.
So normally, with a vaccine, in a nutshell, you get a bug or a virus and kill it. That virus is then significantly weakened and then injected into the body which creates an immune reaction. This technology (mRNA) is something entirely different. I would have had a lot of discomfort about the lack of long-term safety data. However, I do like to practice evidence based medicine and the first trial published on the Pfizer vaccine was quite convincing about its ability to protect against COVID. So, 95% protection is what that study showed (published in the New England Journal of Medicine). It was convincing. So in a similiar vein to the swine flu vaccine a lot of people said “Look there is some good evidence here about efficacy but we do have some concern about long-term safety data and the fact it was produced so quickly “ but most staff got it and most were hugely relieved to get it. I won’t say I was relieved to get it. I would say I had a lot of reservations like I did with the swine flu vaccine.
GON: Would you accept that the original 95% efficacy study is not accurate?
HSE CC: I would have looked at it and thought it was a reasonably well performed study but now the British Medical Journal has subsequently looked at and published some reporting about the conduct of that trial. Particularly, regarding the conduct of one of the facilities in the United States where a whistle-blower came out and described what was happening during the trial. So, the British Medical Journal is a hugely respected journal world-wide and expressed reservations about the conduct of that trial. I would have said that the data since that original trial, in subsequent trials, was much weaker. I have tweeted, every now and again, about the quality of the studies, particularly in reference to the Pfizer vaccine and booster - The third dose that is - and the evidence base for children and I regard the evidence base for those as shockingly bad. I would have recognized quickly enough too afterwards the vaccines were clearly nothing of the sort of a 90-95% efficacy.
We were told that the vaccine was going to stop you getting Covid and stop you transmitting Covid.
GON: So, you were told that within official circles in the HSE at that time?
HSE CC: Yes and world-wide. The CDC in the United States were the same. You can find any number of video clips of Biden and everyone else telling people the vaccines were gonna stop you getting Covid. Clearly, they did nothing of the sort. The mantra moved to the vaccines will stop you getting seriously ill. There is actually no evidence for that at all.
GON: My question to that last claim is: How does anyone even produce science on something like that. Variations of degrees of sickness.
HSE CC: There is no science to that. There is no evidence base as things currently stand that the vaccines will stop you getting Covid, transmitting Covid, or will prevent hospitalization, serious illness or even death. There isn’t a shred of evidence, to my mind for any of that.
GON: I can take it then that the original New England Study gave you enough confidence to get jabbed yourself, so I guess, my next question would be when did the evidence of your eyes start to question the evidence that was being pumped out about these vaccines?
HSE CC: I would have said that a major turning point was the roll-out of the booster. Hold on now…. I need to get my waves right here. It was becoming clear when the Delta wave struck, maybe October-ish, that people who were fully vaccinated were getting Covid.
GON: So we are back to a flu-jab scenario. We have a new predominant strain and an ineffective vaccine for it?
HSE CC: Yes, That really is the reality. It was clear from the Delta wave that the vaccines were not preventing people from getting Covid or getting sick. I did not myself see the unvaccinated getting sicker than the vaccinated in this period. Which was the mantra at that time. I would have said there was no difference between the two groups.
GON: Surely, NPHET or our health leadership saw this as well? I felt during that late summer that the vaccines were not working as advertised. I didn’t get vaccinated not because of any particular anti-vax stance - I was waiting to see what would happen. And what was happening late summer and early fall told me the vaccines weren’t working and the leakage was more than a few breakthrough cases. Our government must have known with the Delta wave they had problems?
HSE CC: So - I would have thought so too. Personally, I would have had a problem with the make up of NPHET. And I would have thought we should have had full disclosures of financial interests and academic interests of people in NPHET. I have a print out of the original members of NPHET and I have never seen public disclosures of “ These are my financial interests or academic interests “. So, I would have thought if someone had Pfizer shares, for example, wouldn’t you like to know that - if they were recommending that you take a vaccine? - I’d like to know it. If someone is giving advice about vaccines I’d like to hope that they wouldn’t gain financially or in some other way by dispensing that advice.
GON: So you are making a broader point there?
HSE CC: I am making a broader point. A lot of the public health decisions were massive. Probably, in hindsight, most of them were futile and ultimately detrimental, I would have said. So, I would have liked to have known, what is someone’s background here and do they stand to gain in someway. I would probably have even more of a problem with NIAC, the vaccine advice group here, and their advice to vaccinate children with essentially no evidence base whatsoever. The data for healthy children where studies now exists is horrendously bad. How anybody on an official body could appraise that data and agree that you should vaccinate healthy children just beggars belief. A case can be made for children with significant co-morbidities perhaps but healthy children..No..
GON: Even if we go back to your swine flu example and the Pandemrix vaccine, Pandemrix was pulled from the market after a period of time. Ironically, in the middle of all the hullabaloo of last winter, there was a Pandemrix case settled in the High Court for 1.3 or 1.4 million with a teenager I think - with 70 or 80 more cases pending. So you would have thought the effect of that problematic vaccine roll-out in regard to those children would be fresh in the mind, especially with advice now to vaccinate the entire under 18 population. If you add in the untested mRNA technology - the long-term safety effects are open and so much unknown. I’m not a doctor but the data coming out and the anecdotal evidence isn’t neutral. It’s negative in my eyes. Tell me more about your shift on the vaccines and things you noticed in this arena?
HSE CC: Number 1 - when the Delta wave hit it was clear that what we were seeing was more than breakthrough cases as I said earlier. My second issue was that I started seeing a lot of significant side effects particularly with the booster.
GON: Have you any thoughts on why the booster might be causing more side-effects?
HSE CC: As to why it might be? I don’t know. Except to say it may be the more doses you get the higher the complication rate. I don’t know. I can say though, pretty clearly, that I saw more side-effects after the booster than I did during the first two doses.
I want to hop off the merry-go-round here to draw breathe but also to highlight that our conversation veered into a story regarding the specifics of a probable vaccine injury that he logged but that the doctors who were responsible for the care of that patient chose not to log. The HSE Covid Consultant spent a good deal of time taking me through the general particulars of this case without naming an individual but would prefer that details of it remained off the record. What I can say is that two of the vaccine side-effects that he is most concerned about centre around the increase in blood clots and strokes. With specific reference to these issues manifesting after the booster shot.
The whole area of reporting vaccine injuries is one mired in controversy. Many are not getting reported. There is an attitude within the HSE of “ Well, we can’t say for definite X, Y or Z is a vaccine injury “ as a result of this attitude many potential injuries go unreported. This is quite comical when you consider that the policy of the HSE should be the exact opposite with regard to an experimental vaccine. All injuries or ailments, within a certain time frame after a vaccine shot, should automatically raise a red flag as potential vaccine injuries until they can be absolutely ruled out. One additional issue the HSE Covid Consultant did raise with me in relation to vaccine side effects is one I wasn’t fully aware of as a problem. Many Irish patients are afraid to register potential vaccine injuries, even severe ones, in case it affects how the HSE treats them in future. In short, they are terrified of being black-listed, especially patients that have other diseases or health problems that may require regular interaction with our health care system. Again, it seems like people potentially paying with their lives to paper over the cracks of an inept, poorly run, and some might say, coercive system of health-care. No place is this more clearly seen than the HSE attitude to potential vaccine injuries in my opinion.
I have a certain inclination at the moment regarding our public services and not just the HSE and it is this: They are struggling to resume normal service. I couldn’t resist asking the HSE Covid Consultant this specific question.
GON: Do you get a sense that the hospital system has found it hard to go back to normality, to provide a pre-covid level of service?
HSE CC: Oh yeah, one of my colleagues put it this way “ It was a fantastic excuse not to work” - Unfortunately, a lot of people have got used to not doing work during Covid. Once that happens it becomes very difficult to get peoples work ethic back. They delayed re-opening many community services, a lot that supported older people. It was disgraceful. There was always another excuse. “ oh here’s another wave we can’t do it now” - So yeah and I think it may well pervade what we are doing for years to come”
In fact, The HSE Covid Consultant breaks down the coronavirus era in broadly similiar ways to myself. That the initial Wuhan strain was very worrisome and his hospital were showing very elevated instances of pneumonia associated with that strain. The first Covid patient in his hospital contracted the disease in the community and entered the hospital system not too sick but deteriorated rapidly over 48 hours. That patient died three weeks later. Not to put too fine a point on it the first experience of the Wuhan strain in this man’s hospital ended in a death. So, he is not someone likely to take for granted the seriousness of the original strain or the disease in general. In many ways, the point of this interview exercise is to highlight how the HSE never moved beyond that original strain and still abuse the fear of it for their own purposes right up to the present day.
By the winter of 2021, it was clear each subsequent dominant strain, from Alpha, Delta thru to the plethora of Omicron strains were becoming orders of magnitude less problematic. It was at a point during the late summer of 2020 that the HSE Covid Consultant saw the media narrative diverge completely away from what was going on in his hospital.
GON: So your first experience with Covid ended in a death.
HSE CC: Yes, we were one for one. What we found after that was that about half the patients were getting very sick but that initial wave, in hospital terms, was short. We weren’t inundated but the people we did admit were getting very sick but it died off pretty quickly. The first discrepancy between what I was seeing and what mainstream media was reporting was late summer of 2020. The hospitals were deadly quiet. That is contained in official hospital figures. Hospitals normally work at over 100% occupancy but for the remainder of 2020 our hospital was as quiet as I have ever seen it. Yet, listening and reading print media we were supposed to be inundated. We were heroes. People were out clapping for us. It was all rubbish. I felt it was kind of embarrassing.
GON: I want to ask you a question that has never been satisfactorily answered. I want to take you to the two or three months before COVID hit Ireland. January, February. I want to try and get an idea of when Covid got to Ireland in real terms. Did you notice anything unusual about January and February?
HSE CC: I would have regarded January and February as broadly similiar January’s and February’s ( to previous ones) But if you speak to any of the GPs out there though, and many of the GP’s that I liaise with really felt that Covid was probably there in the community in December 2019. The truth is that is conjecture we don’t know for sure.
In the March and April period the hospital system was emptied of people that would have been previously difficult to discharge in anticipation of a huge increase in covid hospital admittances.
GON: Was Covid the primary reason the majority of those people were in hospital during that first wave?
HSE CC: Yes, No argument. Yes, they came in with the symptoms of loss of smell, breathlessness etc. Yes, they were all Covid sufferers.
GON: Sometime in May 2020 we started to talk about opening up in phases. My sense was we were moving into a different phase of the pandemic with the approach of summer yet there was still a real scare-mongering in the media.
HSE CC: Yes, it was a really odd period, I’ve never seen anything like it before. People wouldn’t come to hospital or outpatient clinics or anything else. Everything was very, very quiet.
What is perhaps forgotten during the course of the last two and a half years is the fact the Alpha wave was the most important wave to hit Ireland. It was a strain that caused huge levels of anxiety in early January 2021 and of course some of the most restrictive lockdown measures were put in place during this period.
HSE CC: Towards the end of 2020 we were hit by the Alpha wave and it was by far the most significant wave. So, what we were dealing with was a virus that was more infectious but still very virulent. So, I would have said that for a two week period at the end of January (2021) spanning the start of February we had the most difficult time with COVID in the hospital system.
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It is at this point in Ireland’s coronavirus story that we begin to move into the vaccine era. The Doctor’s answers to my questions more or less tally with my own experiences. That January and February 2021 period felt like the time when fear was most widespread but with this beacon of light that was to be the vaccine roll-out. It leads into a most fascinating area of our discussion. The HSE Covid Consultant is double-jabbed. As stated earlier, he, like many medical and scientific professionals placed heavy emphasis on that initial Pfizer clinical trial that pointed to 95% efficacy. He has moved his line of thinking on these vaccines almost 180 degrees though in the interim period.
GON: Can I ask you a question. Do you think the unvaccinated made the right decision? and if you could turn back the clock would you make the same choice again?
HSE CC: (pause) Yes and I regret getting it myself. My wife regrets getting it as well. I am relieved and very, very relieved that my younger children didn’t get it. I have two adult children who made up their own minds. Do I regret it? Yeah I do.
GON: I feel like there is a gathering pace to start mandating things like masks and who knows what else for the autumn ahead. What are your thoughts?
HSE CC: All I know is this - Number 1 lockdowns are futile and harmful. The damage it has done to mental health and older people….there are a number of studies published by various different people on children, older people and young adults about how harmful lockdowns are…I hope we would never, ever see another lockdown. Asking healthy people to wear surgical masks out and about in everyday life that is absolute bunkum. There isn’t a shred of evidence that is in any way effective. Wear a mask if you want but don’t be mandating them to people. Vaccine passports are the most disgraceful tool ever invented ever. There isn’t a shred of evidence that they do anything. They were a coercive tool, an abusive tool and invasion of privacy.
GON: Is there anything manifesting itself in your hospital or with your patients over the last couple of months that is worrying you?
HSE CC: The patients are nothing like as sick as they were in the original wave. So, I would have said in the original Wuhan wave people were very, very, sick. The alpha wave they were very sick. The delta wave patients were less sick but still significant. Omicron was just a cold end of story. People refused to believe what was coming out of South Africa about Omicron. South Africa had very few vaccinated at the time and it was a very mild illness. I think it was a form of racism not to believe the South Africans to be honest. So what we are dealing with now ( in BA4 and BA5 strains of Omicron) is essentially a cold. Of course, if you are old and frail with multiple co-morbidities a cold might kill you.
GON: Is the vaccine responsible for any of the people (with Covid) that are in hospital or can we even go there with a question like that?
HSE CC: I don’t know is the honest answer to that. People are coming into hospital ( for unrelated problems) getting swabbed and coming up as covid positive. Some of them have cold like symptoms. Some of them have no symptoms. We had a discussion at work today about our swabbing and should we be curtailing it and we have actually decided to curtail our swabbing.
GON: It almost seems like the media narrative wants the cases to rise?
HSE CC: There is no doubt that the vast majority of the cases, the hospital cases that is, are people that came in for some other reason and got covid in hospital. It is a hospital problem right now rather than a community problem.
GON: That is not the sense you get in the media. We’re back to this numbers game again. And that seems to have had quite an impact especially on the older generation. They latched on to numbers quite quickly and then as a result became quite fearful very easily with any talk about increasing numbers?
HSE CC: Look, every evening it was a case of here are the cases and here are the deaths. The fear-mongering was just astonishing. I mean a point came where I just had to switch off the radio. I spent my time shouting at the radio because people were talking about stuff that wasn’t accurate. A lot of our mainstream broadcasters, very well known broadcasters, have a big case to answer for.
GON: A lot of the early decisions and protocols that were introduced in terms of the original Wuhan strain are the protocols we still seem to go back to when there is a new strain. Eventhough we know they don’t necessarily work and that we are now dealing with a different, less problematic virus. Whether that is masks, social distancing, restricting movements etc..
HSE CC: Yeah, you’re not wrong. There were a lot of assumptions that were made at the start that have now been debunked. And you’re right we are still doing the same thing and what I call hocus-pocus medicine. A lot of measures introduced for the sake of introducing something.
GON: How are you feeling about the situation at the moment as it stands?
HSE CC: It’s a bit of a mess in hospitals at the moment. Largely, because a lot of people are acquiring Covid in hospital. They all need isolation and PPE. Gowning up and gowning down. Staff are going off with Covid. They are not that sick but they can’t be working with COVID. So, its about trying to keep the show on the road.
GON: Is there an argument for getting rid of some of these protocols particularly these isolation protocols?. I mean how do we ever get back to a functioning Health Service with them in place. Hmmm How do I phrase this a better way. You need about 30% more staff if you are going to make all of these protocols around Covid permanent?
HSE CC: Yeah, look I’d agree with you. The hospital infrastructure in Ireland is not fit for purpose. There are very few effective isolation rooms and you’re dealing with a lot of old buildings in many cases. I do think we do probably need to abandon what we have been doing and revert back to what we normally did during flu season. If somebody comes in and they have symptoms of flu, we swab them and test them for it, if they test positive then isolate. But randomly testing everybody that comes through the door which is what is basically happening and picking up every asymptomatic case - we need to forget about that now. So, if people have symptoms of Covid swab them and if they don’t leave them alone. But I think it is going to take awhile to get to that place.
GON: Are you worried about death figures or types of death presenting this year?
HSE CC: Yes I am. I do have a concern about the CSO mortality date for the last 6 months of last year. If you put it all together there is probably an excess of death of about 1,000 for 2021. And they are not Covid deaths and so the question is why?
Now inverted commas the conspiracy theorists will point immediately to the vaccines. Maybe that is true or maybe there is an alternative reason for it. But the stats don’t lie there is probably more than a thousand excess deaths in the second six months of 2021 when you factor in lower Q2 2021 death figures.
GON: Well, I have been doing my own digging on this and there is a government website deathevents.gov.ie and it’s a rolling 8 week count of death information that is sent to public agencies and updated every Friday. I’ve been tallying the figures on that register for the last month, and assuming those numbers are more or less correct, Q2 2022 is running at roughly 2,500 excess deaths on Q2 2021.
HSE CC: There should be alarms going off somewhere. So we are now in the second half of 2022 and we still don’t have Q1 mortality figures yet from the CSO. I am interested in deaths and births. There was an increase in births in 2021 and I am very interested to see what the trend on births might be in the first quarter of 2022.
Comparing and contrasting all cause mortality rates is a very inexact science at the best of times. Unfortunately, due to the shambles that is our vaccine injury reporting it is one of the few tools available to the average Joe Soap trying to track what is going on in the country at the present time. Plenty of anecdotal evidence exists about a large rise in the number of sudden deaths occurring in the Ireland of 2022. Yet, we must again be mindful not to jump to erroneous conclusions. A big rise in deaths in Q1 and Q2 2022 over the previous year of 2021 would be an indicator though. And following on from the excess death numbers the doctor points to in the last 6 months of 2021. It will raise some new questions and at the end of the day that is all the ordinary citizen can do. Keep asking questions.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the HSE Covid Consultant for taking the time to talk to me about his Covid experiences and perspectives from within the Irish hospital system.
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