Liz Telford OAM prepared this article for the Australia and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Spring 2020 edition
Larissa Romensky, ABC News
Polio survivors have noted striking similarities between the series of 20th-century epidemics and today’s coronavirus — two very infectious diseases that changed the world…
With the elderly already more vulnerable to coronavirus, there is also an additional fear felt by many polio survivors.
“We’ve battled through this far, and we want to stay alive,” said PPV member Peter Freckleton.
In a letter to the Prime Minister and Federal and state health ministers on behalf of polio survivors from PPV, polio survivors insist on being given full treatment if infected with COVID-19, including the use of ventilators.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme was a life-changing idea but before it got going, it was sullied by irrational ageism – the exclusion of the over-65s. A prima facie offence against the Age Discrimination Act so obvious that the act was hastily changed to outlaw complaints.
Particularly anomalous is the rejection of survivors of poliomyelitis. That was a childhood condition yet survivors are shunted onto aged care, which is illogical. Polio is not age-related, and aged care packages are a mirage. People die waiting for them. This discrimination was driven by penny-pinching, not reason, because polio as a medical condition logically falls within the NDIS. Requirements are clearly definable and modest, and the group involved is finite. The dreaded “floodgates” would not be opened by NDIS coverage.
Our President, Ron Bell, was first Australian to be fitted with a Stance Control KAFO in 2005 by Doctor Darren Pereira. His remarkable improvement is documented in these Youtube videos.
He talks about the Orthotic and how it works in this video
In this video, Breast Cancer Network Australia members Niki, Angela and Sara Glance – Post Polio Victoria committee member – share their experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer while living with a disability. Health professionals also speak about the unique challenges for people with a disability diagnosed with breast cancer.
PPV members Dr Margaret Cooper and Frances Henke have been nominated for the Australian Human Rights Commissioner’s Best Achievement in Human Rights.
Liz Telford and Fleur Rubens Polio Oz Summer Edition 2016
Since PPV was established five years ago, in response to people’s concerns about reduced services and lack of information, many stories have been shared about hospital and other medical experiences. These have included misdiagnoses, anesthesia issues, respiratory difficulties after surgery, inappropriate after surgery care, spinal injury following surgery and even unexpected deaths.
PPV’s Margaret Cooper’s Article was first published in Australian Family Physician Volume 45, No.7, July 2016 Pages 529-530.
Patients who have had polio in the past can present as a challenge to clinical assessment. The majority of these patients are older than 60 years of age and may report a range of symptoms that relate to impairment progression in the form of postpolio syndrome but could also be secondary health conditions, agerelated concerns or an unrelated health matter. Factors involved in the management of patients who have had polio include careful diagnosis, recognition of adaptive strategies and enhancement of the patient’s selfcare skills.
The Golden Age, is about the love between two polio-stricken children at a rehabilitation facility in suburban Perth in the early 1950s
POST POLIO SYNDROME: AUSTRALIA’S FORGOTTEN DISABILITY
The World Health Organisation declared Australia polio free in 2000. But the disease is still very much with us.
It’s estimated there are 400,000 Australian polio survivors. And for thousands, the disease is not finished. Decades after they contracted polio, symptoms can return in the form of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS).
Liz Telford and Fleur Rubens letter to The Age was published on August 18, 2015
Julia Medew highlights errors in clinical management that have occurred in our hospitals with some devastating outcomes (“Hundreds of patients’ deaths preventable”, 15/8). A lack of medical knowledge is another cause. Here is a real example. In 2011, a man died unexpectedly in a major hospital a month after surgery. He had a history of polio. A surgical error considered minor (as it is for someone without post polio) combined with inappropriate post-surgery care (due to hospital ignorance of post-polio management) resulted in respiratory failure. The cause of death was given as “post polio”, although it was not the disease process but clinical management that caused this man’s preventable death.
Anyone who contracted polio, whether paralysed or not (an estimated 400,000 Australians) may develop post polio, a condition that may affect the central nervous and respiratory systems. One Victorian hospital now has a polio medical alert for patients known to have had polio. All hospitals need to do the same, and patients should alert staff if they ever contracted polio. Despite the successful global polio eradication campaign, post polio will be around for decades to come and hospital staff must be educated.
Polio Australia is delighted to advise that our Vice President, Gillian Thomas, has been invited to be in the audience of a “Special ABC TV Q&A Forum” being televised on Tuesday 28 May, 2013 with “Bill Gates.”
Gates will be speaking on the important issue of ‘Investment in Global Health and Development’ at the University of New South Wales in the Clancy Auditorium, UNSW Kensington campus.
We recommend you watch what is sure to be a very interesting episode of Q&A if you get the chance.
PPV President and Our Issues in the October issue of “The Senior”
IT MAY be the cruellest twist of a cruel disease: after you’ve recovered and built yourself a life polio can gift you a few decades of normalcy. Just long enough so the facts of how it shaped your childhood fades away. Then, in a different way it returns, to steal back that normal life.