Dr. Anne LEUNG
Chief of Service
Department of Intensive Care Unit
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Dr LEUNG is the Chief of Service (COS) of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH). She graduated in Medicine from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and obtained the Fellowship of Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists in 1997 and the Fellowship of Hong Kong College of Anaesthesiologists (Intensive Care) in 2003. She worked as ICU consultant at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2007 and was promoted to her current position ten years later in 2017. In 2020, she also took up the Chair of COC-ICU under Hospital Authority. She was one of co-authors in the local publication on “Admission triage tool for adult intensive care unit admission in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 outbreak”.
While we had overcome different waves of the COVID-19 for 2 years and together with the launching of the mass vaccination program in February 2021; everyone was expecting the Quarantine-Free Travel with Mainland and rest of the world. By Jan 2022, the sheer scale and rapidity of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic spearhead by this highly transmissible Omicron variant had led to overwhelming strain on every aspect of disaster preparedness of Hong Kong Public Health Care System.
At the peak of the fifth wave, 76,991 positive cases were recorded with in a single day on 3rd March. From the outbreak of the fifth wave until March 30, there was a total of 1,138,138 patients were tested positive for COVID-19, of which 7,493 deaths were recorded. Among the death cases, the elderly were severely hit with 70% were aged 80 or above; close to 60% were the elderly living in residential care homes and about 90% did not receive two vaccine doses.
In order to implement the "reducing death, critical case and infection" anti-epidemic strategy, the Hospital Authority (HA) has converted Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the Kowloon Central Cluster into a designated hospital for COVID-19 patients on 9th March with around 1 300 beds to cater the need of these COVID patients. Together with 6 other designated hospitals, the number of beds for COVID-19 patients had raised to around 11, 500.
At hospital level, QEH was converted to a full-scale COVID hospitals within days via the 4Cs strategies – communication, coordination, commanding, and control. Although vaccination had significantly reduced the hospitalization and ICU admission rate, this “tsunami” scale of COVID patients had created an unprecedented demand for ICU admission. In my talk, I would like to share the ICU coping strategies via the 4Ss—Space, Staff, Standard & Supplies
Anaesthesiologists; who have been well equipped in the airway and resuscitation skill, had played an important role in this acute surge of the ICU capacities. The College Motto kept on swirling in my mind—“Hong Kong Anaesthesiologists work with skill and Expertise; Always pursing Excellence; Taking care of patient with heartfelt Empathy; Uncomplaining, working diligently with Enjoyment”. We are proud to be part of the history in safeguarding the health of Hong Kong people.