Wednesday, 4 Aug 2021

Coronavirus horror: Over-70s left to die in Italy as doctors told focus on young patients

The coronavirus pandemic has mostly targeted the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions but over the past weeks Italy has witnessed the contagion of ever-younger patients. Connon McAinsh, a British nurse serving at Gavezzani Hospital in Bergamo, revealed doctors have now been ordered not to attach patients over 70 to ventilators in a bid to keep resources available for younger COVID-19 sufferers. Speaking to ITV News, Mr McAinsh said: “We were told about 10 days ago that we couldn’t intubate anyone over 70 years old, which already felt like young patients considering that if you’re not intubating them, these people are going to die.

“Now we have people in their 50s, most of our patients are in their 50s.”

Mr McAinsh continued: “There’s just been such a build-up of dead people that there are burials every 30 minutes.

“It’s complete isolation so even for the patients that arrive, most of them see their families when the ambulance picks them up and then there’s no contact even until the moment of their death and their funeral.”

The British nurse also said medical staff at Gavezzani Hospital have been witnessing an “endless stream of patients” as the area is among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

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He added: “It’s just an endless stream of people coming in. As soon as we have a free bed, we have a new patient coming in who need critical care.

“Once we have a patient in the ICU, I haven’t seen any yet being weaned off the ventilator.

“It’s been a couple of weeks, the patient we’ve had the longest has been here nearly 20 days and all of them still depend on mechanic ventilation.”

Bergamo, a province in the rich Lombardy region in northern Italy, was placed in lockdown two days before Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the whole country would be put in quarantine to slow down the spread.

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But Italians being widely at home for the past 11 days, the country on Thursday surpassed China’s death toll with 3,405 people falling victim to COVID-19.

The Italian Prime Minister is expected to confirm lockdown measures will be extended past the original deadline set for April 3.

The total number of cases in the country rose to 41,035 from a previous 35,713, up 14.9 percent, a faster growth rate than seen over the last three days, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The elderly are more vulnerable and at risk of the coronavirus.

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This could be because of weaker respiratory systems – an area the virus affects.

Children appear to be more immune to the deadly effects of COVID-19 and researchers studying this have suggested that’s because they tend to have “pristine” lungs that have not already been damaged.

This might make them more resistant to attack by the new virus.

Despite children believed to be less prone to catching the virus, Prime Minister Conte announced all schools and universities had to remain closed during the lockdown.

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