In a shocking post entitled This Is What A Collapse Looks Like, MDA paramedic Aharon Adler describes the horrifying situation in recent days in Israel’s hospitals.
“A little after eight in the morning, we’re called to the bedside of a coronavirus patient with serious breathing difficulties. The patient is in the emergency underground coronavirus ward. As we make our way to the ward, we hear ambulance after ambulance approaching the hospital, seeking to evacuate its patients that were sent far from their cities to hospitals in central Israel – to Ichilov, Beilinson, Sheba – but no, they’re also full now.”
“The call center informs us that even if our patient is in life-threatening danger, we can’t admit him to any hospital in Jerusalem. It’s not that they don’t want to admit patients – they simply can’t. They have nowhere to put another patient, they have no empty beds in the wards, they have no ICU beds. They want to help, I know – I’ve worked with these professionals for years and I know how important their patients are to them. They want to but they simply can’t.”
“We enter the underground ward – rows and rows of beds with patients lying in them in varying states of consciousness. Staff members covered from head to toe with protective equipment running from one patient to another.”
“Our patient is lying unconscious, struggling to breathe some air into his collapsing lungs, struggling with all his might against the virus – without success.”
“We carry out resuscitation techniques together with the hospital staff – everyone together – resuscitation that we know is almost certainly futile. But how can we give up? He’s only 73 – he was on his feet just a few days ago. We declare his death. Baruch Dayan HaEmes.”
“We head to the nearby MDA station to replenish our equipment. Before we’re finished loading the ambulance, we receive another call from the same hospital – the makeshift one set up to fight the coronavirus – for another coronavirus patient with breathing difficulties.”
“As we walk in, the head nurse comes running out to us: ‘Wait! Don’t go to that call, there’s another patient collapsing right now – go to her.’”
“We follow his instructions and go to the patient. Again we perform resuscitation together with the hospital staff, who have been living with this terror for weeks. Against we fight for life and again we lose. We declare her death. Baruch Dayan HaEmes.”
“On the way out we already see new patients entering the ward. The first patient who died earlier is lying on the bed covered and a new patient is already waiting next to him, waiting to occupy the bed.”
“Another patient arrives and another patient arrives and another patient arrives and the hospital staff admits them one by one and searches for empty beds to place them. ‘This is how it’s been for weeks,” a nurse tells me. “One patient deteriorates and another one takes his place. Four patients died on me during the night shift,’ she added.”
“I’ve seen a lot in my professional life – too much – a lot of people would say. I carry scars from the aftermath of horrific terror attacks I’ve witnessed. But when my grandchildren ask me what is most engraved in my memory, I’ll tell them about today.”
“The day I stook in the underground ward, wearing protective clothing, losing one patient after another to an unseen enemy. The first time in my life that I knew that the medical system is incapable of helping – it has no cure and no solution. It has exhausted its capabilities. The first day I felt hopelessness stalking me.”
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