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12 Mar, 2020 08:44

'Ability to help may reach limit': Italian doctor says medics 'exhausted' helping isolated patients amid coronavirus pandemic

'Ability to help may reach limit': Italian doctor says medics 'exhausted' helping isolated patients amid coronavirus pandemic

If the number of the infected keeps rising, patients with better chances of survival will have to be prioritized, an ER doctor at the epicenter of the Italian outbreak told RT's Ruptly video agency.

In the city of Piacenza, in the heart of northern Italy's coronavirus outbreak, overworked medical personnel are reaching their breaking point – and there seems to be no sign that the epidemic is letting up. With a population of just over 100,000, the city was placed on lockdown on Sunday, after suffering 50 deaths and more than 630 coronavirus diagnoses.

Visibly tired and with bags under his eyes, Davide Bastoni, who works in the emergency room of the Gugliermo Da Saliceto Hospital in Piacenza, told Ruptly that the battle against Covid-19 has been unceasing – and humbling.

"The night was very exhausting... This epidemic permits us to understand the fact that at the end of the day, we are all human beings, we are all the same, when facing these outbreaks or these viruses," said Bastoni.

Dressed in a white smock and a hair net, the doctor confessed that protecting against the highly-contagious has separated patients from their caregivers.

"They are all patients who need human contact, who need some words of comfort, which is difficult to give them because we have the masks and all the protective devices," the medical professional noted. He said that trying to make treatment more "humane" has forced clinicians to "reinvent" how they communicate with their patients.

There were more than three dozen patients with symptoms of the virus waiting to be screened and processed when the interview was recorded on Wednesday. But according to Bastoni, the epidemic is likely to get worse before it gets better.

The doctor urged his fellow Italians, especially young people, to take all possible measures to avoid contact with the virus.

Also on rt.com WATCH Italians line up in extended supermarket queues amid coronavirus lockdown (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

"It's clear that if the community doesn't follow the restrictions and the numbers [of the infected] continue to rise, at a certain point, our ability to help people will reach its limit," Bastoni warned.

He expressed fear that it would soon become necessary to classify patients based on those who have a greater chance of surviving the illness.

"I really hope this doesn't happen," he said. 

Italy remains Europe's worst-hit country, with the number of confirmed cases reaching 12,462 on Wednesday and the death toll jumping by 196 to 827 in just 24 hours.

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