HARROWING footage filmed inside one of London’s biggest hospitals lays bare the toll of the latest Covid spike on both patients and medical staff.
Staff at University College Hospital in London said they are being forced to choose between patients as a growing number of young people enter intensive care fighting for life.
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Scores of patients are losing their lives ‘at dramatic speed’ in the intensive care unit as nurses are forced to prioritise care.
Meanwhile, patients have spoken of their trauma on the ward.
One patient, Attila Karayel, 67, said: “It knocked me out. I didn’t think I would make it.
“There is no oxygen around. It’s very frightening.”
Deputy sister at University College Hospital Ashleigh Shillingford told the BBC: “We are so strecthed we have to prioritise, and prioritising care is not the NHS I grew up in. We shouldn’t have to choose what patient gets what care first.
“People are asking for your help and you don’t know who to help first. The patients are losing their lives at a dramatic speed. We are not just getting older people. This is young people that we are getting, people my age.”
London hospitals have seen covid patients double in two weeks, and University College Hospital is now transforming operating theatre’s and children’s units into intensive care units to deal with the demand.
Three pregnant women are currently in intensive care at the Covid-stricken hospital.
Rachel Arfin, who is five weeks before her due date, said in a heartbreaking interview: “Every mother puts her child before herself.”
“They can’t do anything that wil harm the baby. They look after my baby so well. All the time, coming and checking, monitoring the baby’s happy.
“They are looking after two people. They are saving lives.”
Intensive care nursing is highly specialised with nurses usually offering one to one care. But now nurses are responsible for three to five patients and have been seen crying regularly.
Consultant Dr Jim Down said: “We have got plans that we can expand for another week at this rate but after that we really need to see it slow down, or we are going to see the care that we deliver suffer.
“We will be running so thin on staff that we phsyically couldn’t look after critically ill patients.”
Dr Alice Carter, a consultant, sent her two children aged five and seven to live with their grandparents in Scotland for the first lockdown.
She said: “We were not sure how we would manage. I had my five-year-old in tears last night at the thought of another lockdown because she thought that meant I was sending her away again.
“It’s not uncomon at the moment that I come into work to find nurses crying. The physical and mental load is huge. I’m really worried that we are going to break a lot of nurses and doctors too.”
Another healthcare worker told the BBC: “I’m emotionally all over the place. Scared, sad, petrified, worried.”
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