From The Coronavirus Crisis Area: “Tsunami That Overwhelmed Us”… The Desperate Report Of An Italian Doctor


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Google translation of the article:

From the Corona Virus Crisis Area: “Tsunami that overwhelmed us” – the desperate report of an Italian doctor

Daniele Macchini works in a hospital in Bergamo in northern Italy. He sends a warning to his compatriots: do not underestimate the virus.

On Friday, Daniele Macchini had enough. The resident in the coronavirus risk region of Lombardy , in which the city of Milan is located, did not want to remain silent.

His reality in the “Humanitas Gavazzeni” hospital in Bergamo was too different from that of many people “outside”, he found. He means those who complain about restrictions on their everyday life on social media or ignore the advice to leave the house only in an emergency.

Macchini, actually a general surgeon, wrote a detailed entry on his Facebook page about how he experienced the pandemic in the hospital. The post had been shared almost 30,000 times by Tuesday noon.

“The war has literally exploded and the battles are ongoing, day and night,” Macchini writes. The war he means is the fight against the coronavirus-induced disease Covid-19.

“A week ago our current enemy was still in the shade”

The corona virus has hit Italy worst in Europe so far; freedom of movement is now restricted across the country, and it is no longer just the regions in the north of the country that are particularly affected that are blocked.

A week ago he was amazed at the reorganization of the entire hospital, Macchini writes. At that time, “our current enemy was still in shadow”.

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The wards were slowly literally “emptied”, non-acute measures were interrupted, the intensive care unit released to create as many beds as possible. Containers for infected arrivals were set up in front of the emergency room to avoid possible infection. In the corridors of the clinic there was “an atmosphere of surreal silence and emptiness”.

The doctors had been waiting for a war “that had not started yet and of which many (including myself) were not so sure whether it would ever come so wildly.”

He remembers the night shift in which he did nothing except wait for the test result of the first suspected coronavirus case. “When I think about it, my excitement about a possible case seems almost ridiculous and unjustified now that I’ve seen what happens,” he writes in retrospect.

“Let’s stop saying it’s bad flu”

And then it just exploded, the war. “One by one, the unfortunate poor come to the emergency room. You have anything but the complications of a flu. Let us stop saying that it is bad flu, ”Macchini writes.

“In the two years here I have learned that people in Bergamo don’t come to the emergency room for nothing. They did it well this time too. They followed all the advice given: a week or ten days at home with a fever, without going out and risking infection from others. But now they can’t take it anymore. They don’t breathe enough, they need oxygen. “

[More about the situation in Northern Italy: Death rate in Lombardy skyrockets – “Patients are allowed to die” ]

The emptied departments soon filled up “at an impressive speed,” writes Macchini.

“The scoreboards with the names of the patients, who have different colors depending on the department, are now all red, and instead of the surgical intervention, there is only one cursed diagnosis, it is always the same: bilateral interstitial pneumonia.”

“All doctors are suddenly part of a single team”

It does not reassure him that the severe course mainly affects older people with other previous illnesses. The older population group is the largest in Italy, and it doesn’t just affect them: “I assure you, if you see young people who end up in intensive care units, intubated, […] or worse, connected to the ECMO (a machine for the worst) Cases that extract the blood, oxygenate it again and give it back to the body and wait for the organism to hopefully heal the lungs) – when you see that, your calm is over given your own young age. ”

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Macchini’s post is primarily about making people aware of the existence of the “epidemiological catastrophe”; the people who still showed their pride on social networks and pretended not to be afraid and who protested that their lifestyle would be restricted.

He describes the situation in the Bergamo hospital as follows: “There are no longer surgeons, urologists, orthopedic surgeons, we are only doctors who suddenly become part of a single team to counter this tsunami that overwhelmed us. Cases are increasing, we have 15 to 20 hospitalizations a day, all for the same reason. The results of the tests come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. “

The emergency department collapses under the onslaught, Macchini writes. The hospital reorganized. “Emergency regulations are issued: help is needed in the emergency room. A quick meeting to learn how the first aid management software works, and a few minutes later you will be down next to the warriors at the front. The PC screen with the reasons for access always shows the same: fever and breathing difficulties, fever and cough, respiratory insufficiency, etc. “

“Nurses with tears in their eyes”

Macchini writes of the exhaustion among the doctors in a state of emergency: “There are no more shifts, schedules. For us, social life is exposed. “

But he also tells of solidarity among the staff. That nobody misses going to the internist colleagues and asking what can be done for them. He describes doctors who take patients from A to B and administer medication, which would otherwise be the work of caregivers. And “nurses with tears in their eyes because we can’t save everyone”.

His description culminates in an appeal to people outside who feel restricted: “So be patient if you can’t go to the theater, museums or the gym. Try to take pity on the multitude of older people who could kill you, ”he writes dramatically, as a reminder that the virus is usually harmless to younger people, but can be fatal to those at risk after being infected.

The assistant doctor from Bergamo also calls on people in Italy not to try to buy professional respirators. “These should serve us doctors and we are beginning to have difficulty finding them.”

Despite all the precautions, some of his colleagues are already infected. Family members too. Some of them were already fighting for their lives. “Tell your relatives who are older or who have other illnesses to stay indoors. Please shop for them, ”Macchini writes.

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