- Italy has been hit the hardest of any country outside China by the coronavirus outbreak that was first identified late last year.
- The novel coronavirus has infected more than 119,000 people, and the death toll has surpassed 4,200 worldwide. In Italy alone, there are more than 10,000 confirmed cases and at least 631 deaths.
- Doctors are pushed to their limits as they face an overwhelming number of patients.
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As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, Italy has emerged as the hardest-hit country outside China, where the virus was first identified late last year.
The coronavirus has infected more than 119,000 people, with the death toll surpassing 4,200 worldwide. In Italy alone, there are more than 10,000 confirmed cases with at least 631 deaths.
This week, the entire country began an unprecedented lockdown meant to contain the spread of the disease.
With one of the world’s oldest populations next to Japan, Italy may be more at risk, as the coronavirus has showed to be more fatal in cases involving elderly people with underlying health conditions.
Doctors are pushed to their limits as they face an overwhelming number of patients.
Some doctors work long shifts that span days at a time.
Some doctors in Italy are forced to work “four to five days continuously” as they battle the coronavirus at the frontlines.
Doctors are assuming several roles at once to deal with a multitude of patients.
Dr. Daniele Macchini, who works at the Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital in the northern city of Bergamo, described in a Facebook post what he saw on the frontlines of the disease.
“I saw the tiredness on faces that didn’t know what it was despite the already exhausting workloads they had,” he wrote. “I saw a solidarity of all of us who never failed to go to our internist colleagues to ask, ‘What can I do for you now?'”
“Doctors who move beds and transfer patients, who administer therapies instead of nurses.”
Source: New York Post
Overwhelmed doctors are faced with the difficult decision of whom to treat first.
A shortage of beds and medical supplies forces hospital workers to make tough calls on which patients to treat first, as entire wards are shutting down to accommodate the growing number of coronavirus patients.
Doctors are beginning to prioritise younger coronavirus patients over older people with preexisting conditions, as the younger people have the “greatest chance of survival,” Politico reported. The coronavirus has shown to be fatal mostly to older patients.
“It is a fact that we will have to choose [whom to treat], and this choice will be entrusted to individual operators on the ground who may find themselves having ethical problems,” a doctor working in Milan told Politico.
Doctor shortage leads to some patients with less severe symptoms being turned away for treatment.
Some hospitals are so overwhelmed with patients that they are beginning to turn away elderly patients and non-coronavirus cases, the Daily Mail has reported.
Some who haven’t tested positive for the novel coronavirus have been merely given a “leaflet” by medics who have been “told to perform specialist tasks for which they are not qualified, while some patients over 65 are not even being assessed,” one doctor told the Mail.
Source: The Daily Mail
Italy is trying to supplement a lack of doctors by pulling some out of retirement and advancing the graduation of nursing students still attending school.
“We’ll take anyone: old, young. We need personnel, especially qualified doctors,” the region’s top health official, Giulio Gallera, told the Associated Press.
Source: Associated Press
Doctors are unable to live their lives outside the hospital and refrain from seeing their families out of fear of infecting them.
“There are no more shifts, no more hours. Social life is suspended for us,” Macchini wrote. “We no longer see our families for fear of infecting them. Some of us have already become infected despite the protocols.”
Source: New York Post