A nurse at the Guglielmo Da Saliceto Hospital in Piacenza gave Ruptly an exclusive insight into the daily struggles of healthcare workers facing the coronavirus outbreak in one of Italy’s hardest-hit cities, Piacenza, on Tuesday.
“The numbers keep rising. That’s because people are in the phase of showing symptoms and so they are developing respiratory insufficiency, ” nurse Francesca Rovati, who has been working at the Guglielmo da Saliceto hospital for 13 years, said.
“The worst thing is that you see a lot of suffering. Many people who are sick, many people who are alone. And you can do very little. Because you are there and you understand,” Rovati said while fighting back tears.
“You either deal with the respiratory failure and the patient from a health point of view or you deal with – and we try to do it – but it is not easy to deal with the patient from an emotional point of view as well,” Rovati added.
Rovati said her shifts are marked by the “deafening sound” of the oxygen cylinders needed by patients suffering from respiratory failure.
“We try to tell people who can stay home to stay home, but you cannot do that with those who need oxygen therapy. You have to keep them and the wait for a bed is at times longer than expected,” Rovati said.
The coronavirus patients don’t have a “fixed age,” Rovati said. “Of course, the elderly people are more subjected to it because they are more debilitated. But we are also seeing many middle-aged people. So, I do not feel like telling everyone to remain calm. We must remain calm because we need to be lucid in order to face this situation, but we must not underestimate it,” she added.
Piacenza, a city of around 100,000 people in the Emilia Romagna region has found itself in the middle of northern Italy’s coronavirus outbreak and has been on total lockdown since the beginning of March.
Italy remains Europe’s worst-hit country by the coronavirus, with 2,503 deaths being reported by World Health Organisation as of late Tuesday evening.