Harrowing video from a hospital at the center of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak shows doctors overwhelmed by critical patients
Stark footage from a hospital in Bergamo – the Italian city hit worst by the novel coronavirus – shows doctors and nurses desperately fighting to control the outbreak.
The video, broadcast Thursday by Sky News from the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital, shows an emergency-arrivals ward. It has been transformed into an intensive-care unit because the regular ICU is already full.
As of Friday morning, 4,645 people from Bergamo had tested positive for the virus, more cases than any other city or town in Italy, according to data published in the Corriere Della Sera newspaper. The exact number of deaths in Bergamo is not yet known.
Watch the Sky broadcast here:
The footage shows wards with more patients than they can handle and dozens of patients. The staff seem overwhelmed.
The hospital’s head of emergency care, Dr. Roberto Cosentini, told Sky News: “It’s a very severe pneumonia, and so it’s a massive strain for every health system, because we see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen.”
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He added: “And so we had to reorganize our emergency room and our hospital – three levels of intensive care.”
Most of the city’s public services are in crisis.
On Wednesday night, 15 Italian military trucks were seen ferrying around 60 bodies from morgues across the city to cremation sites in 12 other Northern Italian cities after Bergamo’s mayor called for aid.
Several morgues and Bergamo’s sole crematorium, which can cremate 25 people a day, are overwhelmed.
Prohibited from holding services, churches have been used to store coffins. The gymnasium at Ponte San Pietro Hospital was turned into a makeshift mortuary.
Residents have been confined to their homes since March 8, when the government quarantined 16 million people in 14 provinces in Northern Italy, including Lombardy, the province which contains Bergamo.
The obituary pages of the L’Ecio Di Bergamo newspaper used to number two or three, now they regularly stretch to 10.
On Thursday, Stefano Fagiuoli, head of the hospital’s department of medicine, turned to Facebook to ask people to donate to help the hospital on GoFundMe.
This content was originally published here.