An Italian doctor has described the heartbreaking moment a patient dying from coronavirus begged to speak to loved ones.
Doctor Francesca Cortellaro, who works at the San Carlo Borromeo hospital in Milan, witnesses patients infected with the bug die alone in hospital.
Italy is one of the worst affected countries in the world with coronavirus, with more than 41,000 cases and 3,405 deaths.
Dr Cortellaro told Italian newspaper Il Giornale : “You know what’s most dramatic? Seeing patients dying alone, listening to them as they beg you to say goodbye to their children and grandchildren.”
She added: “They are lucid, they do not go into narcolepsy. It is as if they were drowning, but with time to understand it.
“When they are about to die, they sense it”.
Dr Cortellaro said she helped a dying grandmother say goodbye to her granddaughter.
Describing the moment, she said: “I pulled out the phone and called her on video.
“They said goodbye. Soon after she was gone.
“By now I have a long list of video calls. I call it a farewell list.”
Italy continues to struggle with the outbreak, with distressing footage showing desperate scenes at an emergency ward as trolley-bound coronavirus patients wear ‘plastic bubble’ helmets and gasp for air.
With the Bergamo hospital’s ICU completely full, medics – who are reportedly calling it ‘the Apocalypse’ – are seen dashing between patients amid the screech of air escaping tubes and alarms beeping trying to keep the infected alive.
The bubbles, which cover the entire head and cause staff great communication difficulties, attempt to equalise the air pressure in the lungs.
Hospitals across northern Italy are overwhelmed as the virus spreads out of control.
Asked if Covid-19 is like the flu, Dr Roberto Cosentini, speaking to Sky News in the ward, said: “No, it’s utterly another thing.
“More pneumonia than flu…it’s a very severe pneumonia and so it’s a massive strain for every health system.”
The doctor went on to say: “Every day we see 50 to 60 patients who come into our emergency department with pneumonia and most of them are so severe they need very high levels of FIO2 or oxygen.”
The most common symptoms of the coronavirus are:
- a dry, persistent cough
- a fever
If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately self-isolate yourself for seven days.
It is not necessary to call NHS 111 unless your symptoms get more severe.
Some patients have reported fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath and aches and pains. Sneezing is not a symptom of the coronavirus.
The hospital, in the Lombardy province, is one of the most advanced in Europe but one of the most hard hit in Italy, with Bergamo now the centre of the epidemic.
Other footage shows patients on trolleys in wards, with reportedly every available space, including meeting rooms, being used for patients – with staff desperate for other nations to see what is happening and go into complete lock down or face the same.