Two weeks ago, Dr Steve Kassapidis, an ICU doctor in New York, told Sky News the scene in hospitals as “hell… biblical”.
This was the first time anyone had revealed the true extent of life inside the city’s overwhelmed hospitals.
A fortnight on, and New York is now at the peak of the crisis. Sky’s Alistair Bunkall caught up with Steve again outside his hospital in Queens. Exhausted, having worked seven days a week through the coronavirus crisis, he opened up about the effect it was having on him and his colleagues.
People will break down sometimes, weaknesses show, especially when you’re working on one of your own.
When you’re intubating a co-worker, it gets to you.
When your co-worker’s family member is intubated and is dying, it gets to you.
Unfortunately though, as physicians, we’ve just got to suck it up and go to the next one.
It’s heartbreaking, especially when you have patients who die alone. For instance I had a patient who I’ve known for 25 years. A sweet old gentleman. He died alone. His family couldn’t come and see him.
I’ve witnessed times when families call looking for their loved ones and unfortunately they passed away a day or two before and this family member didn’t know. That’s a hard call to take.
I can’t sleep. Obviously I worry about my family, my daughter, my loved ones. I worry about having PTSD later on in life, when it’s all over hopefully and I wake up from nightmares in the middle of the night.
If you’re not really in it you do not understand how bad it is. You can’t understand the full breadth of what’s going on. And it’s better off that they don’t.
The devastation of families is unthinkable. This wipes out families. Wipes out cities. Every day is etched in my memory. It’s heart-wrenching, it’s devastating.
No one was ready for this. Everybody tries to throw politics into this. No politicians were ready for this, nobody across the world was ready for this.
This has ripped through Europe, through China, through the US and it’s going to continue to do so and this is the worst enemy to have because you can’t see see them.
This is endless and it keeps coming. Comes in waves. You can’t let your guard down, can’t sleep.
You’ve got to keep fighting because remember every time we don’t fight, every time we slip, somebody dies.