Self-preservation is a basic human instinct. But in a world centered around individual survival, we mustn't forget who suffers mostby Oliver Murphy / March 18, 2020 / Leave a comment
It was last week when Isabel had come out of major surgery to remove a brain tumour. Now convalescing at home, Isabel (not her real name) is only able to take paracetamol to manage what she describes as “excruciating pain”. But since coming home, she has been unable to purchase any painkillers—and she’s visited every supermarket in her town. Isabel is now having to manage the pain with no medication. “I’ve tried for three days in a row, and nothing” she tells me over the phone.
Isabel is not alone in her ordeal. Donna is the daughter of an elderly parent and grandparent. Both suffer from Protein S deficiency, a disorder which results in an increased risk of blood clots. They require daily doses of the blood thinning medication, Warfarin. Donna tells me that the only medication her relatives are able to use to ease their pain is paracetamol. While Aspirin seems to be readily available, they are unable to take it as it also thins the blood. “The complete lack of basic painkillers in nearly every shop is worrying, my grandfather has dementia so it is really important to keep my mother healthy so she can look after him.”
“Massively inflated prices”
So why the shortage? For days on end, large swathes of the British public have literally emptied supermarket shelves of a variety of products in a spate of panic-buying sparked by the rising concerns of coronavirus. With everyday staples such as toilet roll, pasta and basic pain killing medication virtually disappearing, resources are scarce.
Vulnerable people are now unable to access the resources that they rely upon to survive. And now, in a display of desperation, some are taking to purchasing products via online marketplaces such as eBay at massively inflated prices, from individuals capitalising on the hysteria. “At one point, I seriously considered just buying a pack of paracetamol to control my headaches off eBay. But there was no way I was going to spend that sort of money” Isabel tells me.
Isabel and Donna’s relatives, like so many around the world, are at an added risk. Vulnerable and with a weaker immune system, they are much more…