Patients struggle to breathe inside intensive care units ‘already at breaking point’Ivy Madziva
Patients struggle to breathe inside intensive care units ‘already at breaking point’
Patients struggle to breathe in ICU at hospitals in the north of England (Picture: Sky News; ITV News)
Hospitals on the coronavirus frontline in the north of England are almost at breaking point as doctors battle the second wave sweeping through the UK.
A glimpse inside intensive care units (ICU) in the north-west shows they are running out of beds, just as Boris Johnson warned the number of cases in the UK has quadrupled in the last three weeks, with infections rising by another 13,972 yesterday.
The huge task facing the NHS was revealed by health chiefs yesterday who confirmed there are more coronavirus patients in hospitals now (3,665) than when the UK went into lockdown in March.
Critical care consultant Dr Jason Cupitt looks after eight patients in intensive care at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital.
Admitting he is ‘tired and worried’, Dr Cupitt said medics are braced for life on the frontline ‘all over again’. He told ITV: ‘We are very worried about where this is going to go and the fact that it’s probably going to carry on for a long time.’ Intensive care patient William Murray said he stayed in for 12 weeks to protect himself from coronavirus, but both he and his wife are in hospital after testing positive. Mr Murray said: ‘Everything was going right, couldn’t do any more than what we did.’
Intensive care patient William Murray is in hospital with his wife (Picture: ITV News)
ICU beds are running out as cases rise in the north-west and across the UK (Picture: ITV News)
Dr Jason Cupitt said his staff are about to go through it ‘all over again’ (Picture: ITV News)
Another patient Brenda also said she had been really careful and was ‘isolating for months’ before she came down with the virus. Meanwhile, at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospital, there has been a dramatic rise in admissions, leaving only two beds spare in the ICU. Medical Director Dr Alex Crowe told Sky News: ‘We very much are back to where we were earlier in the year and trying to understand what the demand and capacity requirements are with each day and with each week that goes by. ‘I think we’re much more prepared than we were so we understand the needs and the interventions that are required for patients that present with Covid.
Patient Susan Bostock said she did ‘everything’ to protect herself but still came down with coronavirus (Picture: Sky News)
‘I think the challenges lie with our operational demands as we move forward in the next days and weeks.’ Patient Susan Bostock said she can’t breathe without a machine. ‘I’ve done everything that I’ve been told,’ she said. ‘Social distancing and all the rest of it. But I don’t think people should take it lightly.’ Last night, the Prime Minister said rising coronavirus cases and hospital admissions are flashing like ‘dashboard warnings in a passenger jet’ as he set out his new three-tier lockdown system. The system will divide England into medium, high or very high risk categories.
Paramedics and doctors in full PPE at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (Picture: PA)
Pubs and bars across Merseyside will close unless they serve food and alcohol as part of a sit-down meal as the Liverpool city region moves into a ‘very high’ Covid alert level. MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday and, should it be approved, the new tiered system will come into effect on Wednesday. Areas in the top tier will be able to impose extra restrictions, and in the Liverpool city region this will mean the closure of leisure centres, gyms, betting shops and casinos. Prof Whitty warned the measures could become stricter should more be required to suppress the virus.
He said: ‘I am not confident, and nor is anybody confident, that the tier three proposals for the highest rates… if we did the absolute base case, and nothing more, would be enough to get on top of it. ‘And that is why there’s a lot of flexibility in the tier three level for local authorities, guided by the directors of public health, to actually go up that range, so that they can do significantly more than the absolute base because the base will not be sufficient.’ Mr Johnson said he did not want another national lockdown but did not rule one out either, adding he would not impose such ‘extreme’ measures ‘right now’.
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