In groups, doctors and nurses frantically crowded around the latest patients. The monitors, drips and most importantly the respirators they were attached to was all that was keeping them alive, writes Sky’s Stuart Ramsay.
It was what looked like an intensive care unit (ICU) but was actually an emergency arrivals ward. The ICU was full – packed out with patients suffering from coronavirus.
All around me were people in beds, on trolleys, plugged and plumbed into machinery, with plastic bubbles over their heads.
The bubbles were attempting to equalise the air pressure in the lungs. The machinery helped stop them dying from COVID-19.
Staff struggled to communicate with those in their care. The weak could barely speak and above the noise of the ward and the constant bleep of heart monitors and breathing pumps, it was almost impossible to make out what they were saying.
None of those who were working hard to prevent the deaths had expected this. Nobody ever imagined they would be treating so many, so quickly.
But this was the main hospital in Bergamo, the hardest-hit hospital in Italy, in the hardest-hit town in the hardest-hit province, Lombardy – and it was like something out of the apocalypse.
It had been hit by what one medic called a “tsunami”.
The head of emergency care, Dr Roberto Cosentini, said staff had never seen anything like it. We had been allowed in to film so we could warn other countries, especially the UK, that it was coming their way.