We are at war with covid. How many times have we pronounced or heard or even just read this expression? Lots of them. So many that they even got used to them. And addicted to this saying, we have perhaps begun to look with detachment the battlefields where every day an increasingly unequal fight is consumed: that between man and Covid-19.
The writer has recounted on several occasions the pandemic from the Cardarelli Reanimation, from the “red” areas, from the 118 stations, from the home of families who have lost their loved ones due to the virus, yet that expression of “we are at war” has never been so fitting as it has today – Tuesday 23 February – at the antistadio di Contrada Selvapiana.
It is 2 pm when he arrives on board the ambulance the 10th patient covid forced to be transferred to another hospital because Cardarelli is saturated.
The one in progress it’s the worst week, doctors say. Then they add crossing their fingers: “Or rather, let’s hope that there are no others even worse”. It is because the virus and its variants circulate very easily, hospitalizations increase, even those in Reanimation. THEl ward of Doctor Romeo Flocco he can’t take it anymore: he is exhausted.
The patient number 10 to be transferred, he is 53 years old. His lungs are struggling, he is attached to a respirator, his life is at risk. The helicopter is a few minutes late on schedule. There are the Firefighters who monitor the arrival of the aircraft, it is their task to ensure safe landing and take-off.
In the early afternoon in the Selvapiana district there is hardly anyone and silence is everywhere. A few minutes after 2 pm, the deafening noise of the AW-101 of the Air Force breaks it open.
Its din is a punch to the stomach.
The noise of the engine, the wind from the propellers, the Cardarelli ambulance turning on the flashing lights, the firefighters rushing to secure the area, the AW-101 landing, the tailgate opening, the soldiers (some harnessed) who get off and the meeting with the Cardarelli doctors to agree on the transfer of the patient from one stretcher to another.
Here, the sensations of these minutes reinforce that thought that until a few days ago had almost the flavor of a metaphor and which instead is not because “We are really at war against covid and against time “.
The AW-101 travels over our heads about twice, it has to calculate the landing (after all the Cardarelli heliport, topic of every election campaign for years, is not yet in a position to comply with these emergencies). When the engines are turned off and the propellers stop, the Air Force soldiers take out the stretcher from the hatch.
Then they harness the patient and quickly move him on the other bed for bio-containment. These are the names used for patients suffering from highly contagious pathologies.
What happens at this time is part of the so-called “Cross network “(remote central for medical rescue operations) which in Molise was activated directly in the “Phase 5” ie that of the maximum emergency, skipping the “Phase 4” due to the sudden worsening of infections and therefore the inability of the regional health system to cope with a significant and unprecedented peak in hospitalizations and emergencies.
The Molise patient, 53 years old, he is therefore the tenth which is part of the hospitalization system organized with the “Cross Network”. After those transferred to Lazio, Abruzzo, Tuscany, the latter ill will be taken to Cesena.
Here we are. There stretcher crosses the threshold of the rear door of the aircraft. The rescuers finish the disinfestation of the suits and prepare for take-off.
Again that noise of the engines that rips the sky of Campobasso and forces you to cover your ears with your hands. The flight commander, before boarding, greets the 118 medical staff who is standing in front of the ambulance waiting for the helicopter to restart.
“Hi guys – he says – good luck”. One of the three rescuers of our ambulance is moved, puts his hands to his head, as if to protect himself from crying.
Yeah, good luck. We all need it, even more the patient from Molise on his way to Cesena and many like him who struggle between life and death.
We? We, who are lucky enough not to be attached to respirator ‘beep’, we could probably do a lot to avoid infections and hospitalizations. Needless to reiterate.
I hope you are in health and well.
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