health

Inside an NHS hospital at the peak of the coronavirus crisis


As patient admissions in England reach new levels, the Guardian’s Helen Pidd spends a day inside the Covid wards at Milton Keynes University hospital. She tells Rachel Humphreys how she donned her protective equipment in order to shadow the doctors and nurses fighting a gruelling battle against the disease, which is affecting patients of all ages.

In the intensive care unit, patients requiring the highest level of treatment are receiving ventilation and support for multiple organs. It is a constant effort from the dedicated staff to monitor and maintain oxygen levels that can drop without warning. One patient, Dilip Sharan, tells Helen he has been on the unit for five days after testing positive for the virus shortly after Christmas.

Helen describes moving on to the respiratory higher care unit, which also contains patients who are critically ill. Many are receiving high levels of extra oxygen through Cpap (continuous positive airway pressure) masks. One man in his fifties talks of his shock at realising that patients in nearby beds had died.





The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at Milton Keynes hospital has 10 beds for seriously ill Covid-19 patients in need of critical care, nine of which were occupied when this photograph was taken. A day-in-the-life on Covid-19 wards at Milton Keynes Hospital. Photograph by David Levene





Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

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