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The Covid-19 ward

Poet and author Michael Rosen is reunited with the intensive care staff who cared for him during his battle with coronavirus - a harrowing experience which has changed them all.

Kirsty Wark brings together six people who were in the eye of the storm during this year's pandemic.

The poet and author Michael Rosen is reunited with some of the intensive care staff who cared for him during his battle with coronavirus. He has no memory of much of his time in hospital as he was in an induced coma for seven weeks. The staff who looked after him rarely see their patients again once they have been discharged.

For the ICU staff at the Whittington Hospital in north London, the rising tide of infected patients was like "a tsunami" and the following weeks were like working in "a warzone". Michael's consultant, Professor Hugh Montgomery, said that he and his team watched six coffins go out in one morning. Charge nurse Ally Auladin said, "You'd start your day putting on PPE, then it would be 100mph for the rest of the day."

Senior nurse Jo Eardley said, "You could work a whole day and not know your patient's name because we didn't have time." The baffling symptoms of infected patients meant that much of their previous training and experience was useless. Junior doctor Amanda Macaskill Stewart said; "It's the first time I've worked with a disease that I didn't know about. We were hoping for the best without really knowing."

Michael's wife Emma Williams said that, on the night after Michael was intubated, she feared he may never wake up. As medics worked around the clock to save him, Michael's poem celebrating the NHS took on a new resonance during the pandemic.

For months after his discharge, Michael struggled to make sense of what he had been through. But for Amanda, "He was truly one of our happy stories."

Presenter: Kirsty Wark
Producer: Karen Pirie
Series Producer: David Prest
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Sat 13 Nov 2021 22:15

Broadcasts

  • Wed 30 Dec 2020 09:00
  • Sat 2 Jan 2021 19:15
  • Sat 13 Nov 2021 22:15

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