More than 100 doctors have died from coronaviruses in Italy while many are battling the trauma of seeing their colleagues die.
Staff at the traumatized hospital asked “who will be next” after the deaths of 80 doctors and 21 nurses from the virus.
Two nurses have committed suicide since the start of the epidemic, which killed more than 15,800 and infected 124,600 in Italy.
A total of 300 doctors were infected in a hospital in Lombardy – the area most affected by the virus – while 12,000 hospital staff were diagnosed across the country.
The country registered an additional 525 deaths, bringing its total to 15,887 – the highest of any country in the world – but this marked its smallest daily increase since the 427 recorded on March 19.
The number of new cases of coronavirus in Itay was 4,316, compared to 4,805 in the last 24 hours
The high infection rate was largely attributed to the lack of protective equipment at the start of the epidemic.
Director Francesco Castelli, director of the infectious diseases unit at Spedali Civili hospital, told Sky News: “We were wondering who will be next, which is of course psychologically demanding because, apart from our colleagues, we are friends.
“We all have a kind of concern about bringing the contagion home.
He added, “If you put it all together … the workload, the fatigue, the fatigue … it’s pretty psychologically demanding. “
Many in Lombardy die due to uncontrolled symptoms and insufficient telephone consultations.
It took 11 days of frantic phone calls to Silvia Bertuletti to persuade a doctor to visit her 78-year-old father, Alessandro, who had a fever and was struggling to breathe.
More than 100 doctors have died from coronaviruses in Italy while many are battling the trauma of seeing their colleagues die. Pictured: doctors at Cannizzaro hospital
When a doctor on call visited her home near Bergamo on the evening of March 18, it was too late.
Alessandro Bertuletti was pronounced dead at 1:10 a.m. on March 19, 10 minutes before the arrival of an ambulance called a few hours earlier.
The only medication prescribed over the phone was a mild pain reliever and a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
Bertuletti, 48, said, “My father was left alone at home, without help.
“We were simply abandoned. No one deserves such an end.
Interviews with families, doctors and nurses in the Lombardy region of Italy indicate that Bertuletti’s experience is not uncommon.
In Bergamo province alone, according to a recent study of death registers, the actual death toll from the epidemic could be more than double the official count for 2060, which only tracks deaths at the hospital.
As the global fight to save lives focuses on increasing the supply of hospital ventilators, some doctors say a lack of primary health care is just as costly because doctors can’t or won’t not make home visits.
This is in line with a global tactic of switching to remote medical advice.
Staff at the traumatized hospital asked “who will be next” after 80 doctors and 21 nurses died of the virus in Italy alone. Pictured: medical staff cares for a patient in Bergamo
“What has led to this situation is that many family doctors have not visited their patients for weeks,” said Riccardo Munda, who does the work of two doctors in Selvino and Nembro, two towns near Bergamo after a colleague caught the virus.
“And I can’t blame them, because that’s how they saved their own skin. “
He said many deaths could be prevented if people at home received prompt medical help, but doctors were overwhelmed, lacked masks and coveralls to protect themselves from infection, and were discouraged from making visits unless it was. is absolutely necessary.
He added, “The doctors are providing treatment at home.
“But if this treatment does not work, if there is no doctor who checks and modifies or adjusts the drugs, then the patient dies. “
A total of 300 doctors were infected in a hospital in Lombardy – the area most affected by the virus – while 12,000 hospital staff were diagnosed across the country. In the photo: a doctor helps an elderly woman at the Molinette hospital in Turin
While hospital workers have had priority access to the masks, some family doctors say they are gone and therefore did not feel able to visit patients safely.
A spokesperson for the public health agency ATS in Bergamo said that authorities in the Lombardy region told family doctors to “treat patients by phone as much as possible”, limiting home visits “to reduce contagion and wastage of protective equipment ”.
She said 142 doctors in the Bergamo area were sick or quarantined but all had been replaced.
Authorities are now working to strengthen primary care in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization that the provision of safe primary health care should be a priority for governments right after the capacity for intensive care.
In the province of Bergamo, six special medical units began operating on March 19, each equipped to visit the sick at home.
In the neighboring city of Milan, where deaths at home and in elderly centers more than doubled in the second half of March, similar units did not start operating until March 31.