Rockstars versus Roadies


Article by Paul Bailey
Medical Director at St John WA

No-one ever went to a Bruce Springsteen concert to see the Road Crew do their thing did they? The roadies are the unsung heroes of the live music scene – the behind the scenes workers who make it all possible. 

Front line health care workers – Paramedics, General Practitioners, Emergency Department Doctors and Nurses – we’re the roadies of the health care system. And suddenly, in this crazy COVID infected world, we’ve become rock stars and we don’t quite know what to do. 

The rock stars of the medical world are generally the cool kids performing brain surgery, those putting limbs and fingers back on, reconstructing faces, those curing patients with cancer or removing blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. Us?  Let’s just say we still fly commercial, preferably discount and always economy.

But something weird is happening – people are dropping free food at our doorsteps, checking in with us on the proliferation of messaging platforms, delivering care packages to our workplaces, leaving lovely messages.

People in the UK lined their streets to offer a round of applause to NHS workers returning home after their working day was done. Think about that – roadies getting the rockstar treatment. My cousin is a hospital doctor in London, and a young mother. Her family took a video of the reception she got from her locked down neighbours and it was spine tingling.

Our message to the community is that we are all in this together, your front line health workers stand ready to help in the community’s hour of need. We are certainly apprehensive, some of us are even a bit scared. If the overseas experience is anything to go by, a few of us will get sick and some of us will die. Think about that for a moment. It’s not that much fun turning up to work when catching a fatal illness is an actual possibility – and that’s exactly what many of us are facing. 

None of us are doing the job we applied for per se, but here’s the thing – we’re trained for this. We’ve been here all along doing the hard things and you didn’t notice. We can care for sick patients, we’re happy to make tough decisions all day long. We operate in real time and have to make high conviction decisions on limited information. The one thing we can’t do without is effective PPE – personal protective equipment.

So hats off to the supply officers, the procurement people, the PPE manufacturers – who are pounding their keyboards and working the phones trying to keep the front lines supplied. Hats off to our local state government health team who are scouring the world while everyone else is doing the same thing. And thank you Andrew Forrest for what you have been able to do for frontline healthcare workers, other first responders such as the Police and aged care workers keeping our frail and elderly safe. I’m happy to share the fandom with these rock stars. In fact, they can have it all. Us roadies were quite happy where we were.

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