Two senior nurses on the frontline in Italy’s battle to save lives have described what it is like to work in the main hospital of Bergamo, in a region hit hardest by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Maddalena Ferrari, 47, and Maria Berardelli, 51, worked as surgical operation rooms nurse-coordinators at the John XXIII hospital when the outbreak hit their city like a bomb.
They had to quickly convert surgical rooms into intensive care unit (ICU) rooms and make space for as many beds as possible to treat COVID-19 patients.
They said that recently the inflow of patients started to decrease, but at the beginning it was like ‘war’.
As Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses, they mostly deal with sedated and unconscious patients, so there is no interaction with the human beings they have to save.
But sometimes they have occasion to smile and see hope in the love and encouragement portrayed in the children’s drawings that some of these critical patients carry in their bags among their personal belongings.
The two nurses said they can never get used to losing a life and every time it happens, they are pervaded by a feeling of failure, but when a patient starts recovering, that’s the most beautiful moment for them.
Being an ICU nurse means they are ‘invisible’ heroes because patients cannot interact with them, and they cannot express their gratitude once they recover, because before they fully awaken they are moved to the sub-intensive unit ward.
Psychological support groups have been created at the Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo to help the medical staff.
Italy’s rate of coronavirus cases has continued to drop.
Civil Protection authorities said on Tuesday that there were 3,039 new cases in 24 hours.
Italy hasn’t seen such a low daily number since the early weeks of the outbreak. It has 135,586 confirmed cases and has counted 16,523 deaths.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and a cough, that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and could lead to death.
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