Coronavirus, the doctor: “Three months of hell, to decide who to give a helmet to live on”


Monza, 11 June 2020 – When everything had just begun, he told what was happening inside the emergency rooms just affected by the pandemic. We felt it three months later. An emergency room doctor in Brianza, overwhelmed by the emergency. Always as a guarantee to protect their anonymity.

Are things better?
“Life in the emergency room has definitely improved. We also notice it (smiles) that access has been resumed by people who have no real emergencies. As happened before …”.
Three months he said: “we must cut the bridges to this virus”.
“And luckily it went just like that. We haven’t seen more cases of Covid in days, the emergency seems to have passed.”
Depends on what?
“The closure of the country has undoubtedly served. Even if the real key was another …”.
“The widespread use of protective devices, especially masks. We health workers, for example, who have also been immersed in this terrible virus, thanks to the use of gloves and masks we have been touched to a minimum. And the viral load it was torn down a lot. Well, maybe if they did it right away, when the masks were not yet there, we would have saved ourselves a lot of deaths “.
And the lockdown?
“Maybe it wouldn’t even have been necessary in such a stringent way. Even if it’s true that the Italians, if you don’t force them, maybe they wouldn’t have taken the precautions that they now seem to have assimilated.”
Several doctors have died.
“Especially in the initial phase, when the masks were not there and it is no coincidence that primary care physicians, abandoned to themselves, have contracted the disease. With a local medicine that has tragically disappeared. While who he worked in hospitals, although immersed in a closed and potentially dangerous environment, he managed to defend himself better. Paradoxically, there were few infections and I have the feeling that many of the colleagues or nurses who contracted Covid have also done so outside from the hospitals when they came home. The problem is for months we didn’t know about it either, and in the evening we went home terrified of infecting our loved ones. “
Was life in the trenches hard?
“These were terrible months, in the hospitals we saw patients die like flies, it seemed that they were drowning and we didn’t have CPAP (” Continuous Positive Airway Pressure “) respirators and helmets, enough for everyone. And we were forced to make choices heartbreaking “.
“Who to take care of and who not. Usually the reanimators came to explain how to behave. If a patient was elderly, over 70 or 75 years of age and with previous pathologies, they told us that it was not worth investing means and energy. It was unfortunately unavoidable, when you don’t have respirators, helmets and beds for everyone. And this choice did not always concern only the elderly. I remember a young patient, but seriously overweight and with hypertension problems: he was not in a position to get away with it. Unfortunately the cases many have been similar. “
“There were colleagues who were crying all the time … I remember an 80-year-old patient, his son had brought him, he could no longer breathe and went to respiratory arrest. We managed to revive him, but we” caught “a rebuke:” leave it alone , there are no resources! “Or I remember patients who were attached to a cylinder for a couple of hours and, if they did not improve, the respirator had to be disconnected to give it to someone else”
“You realized that you had no alternatives, we were submerged. And sometimes you found yourself like a vulture waiting for a particularly serious patient to take his last breath to take his bed away and give it to another.”
It was said, the tears.
“We have been accompanied by psychologists to help us, many of us still have nightmares at night. We are wearing very strong fatigue: we have worked at hell and we had holidays certainly blocked, but the truth is that many of us are struggling as with a phase of post traumatic stress, with real states of anxiety. And we realize that it also happens to people who have not lived our experiences and who after the lockdown are afraid to leave the house and experience respiratory crises that are mainly psychological. As happened to us too, to whom at times it literally seemed to suffocate “.
You had heavy harnesses.
“Socks, surgical masks to which you had to superimpose those with valves, double gloves. Visors that cut your skin and gave irritation that you could only medicate by applying a plaster”.
“We proceeded by trial and error, the instructions that came to us kept changing. Having never had anything to do with this virus, it was impossible to proceed differently: we used everything, plaquenil, oxygen, cortisone, heparin to avoid thrombosis when we made ourselves because this virus attacked the blood vessels. Because it not only affected the lungs, it could also attack the kidneys, heart, brain. We have often had to deal with heart attacks and strokes from Covid. “
Time seemed at times vital.
“A decisive factor. After a while we realized that when the patients arrived in the hospital, it was often already too late. Having kept them at the house had made matters worse, after all it was a cat that was biting its tail to avoid contagion. We found emergency solutions to open new ICU places, but it was a tsunami. “
Chief Alberto Zangrillo says that the virus, from a clinical point of view, has disappeared …
“I am not a virologist, but from a strictly clinical point of view it does not say nonsense. We no longer see patients reeling. However, I would not be able to say if at first the charge of the virus was more violent or simply if at first it affected people with fewer resources to defend themselves, more exposed. Of course we have lost an entire section of the population, several of our grandparents “.
Swabs and serological tests on healthcare professionals?
“They only did it a few weeks ago, before for weeks we returned home terrified, to explain to their children, perhaps young children, that they could not embrace you. I saw colleagues who went to live outside the house for 70 days just to not risk to infect the family “
Today, however, doctors and nurses, in the imagination, are heroes.
“But I think that soon the situation will return to normal and for all of us insults and threats will start again. The wind is already changing in the emergency room. Maybe … it’s almost comforting”.

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