Italy’s health care workers reveal faces bruised by hours of overwork

Italian medical staff end their long shifts with faces bruised from protective masks and goggles. 

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Overworked, overstressed and in constant danger of being infected themselves, the strain of dealing with the massive of flood of coronavirus patients is showing on the faces of health care workers around the world. Literally.

Doctors, nurses and medical workers are finding their bodies temporarily scarred by the head-to-toe protective gear they are forced to wear when they finally get to take a break after what is sometimes a 24-hour shift.

Medical staff in Italy posted selfies showing the imprint of protective gear that left purple and red bruising after being worn tightly all day to protect them as they treated thousands of sick patients.

“I mainly took the photo for two reasons,” Dr. Nicola Sgarbi told CNN from a hospital in the hard-hit Italian city of Modena. “Firstly, to send it to my partner, to tell her that I had finished my shift at work and that I was on my way home, slightly bruised. Secondly, to show it to my 1-year-old daughter when she will have grown up. I will be telling her about this moment.”

The World Health Organization reported that as of Sunday there were 54,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy, where the death toll had reached 4,827 with a staggering 795 deaths reported in a single day.

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“The sheer numbers of people succumbing to the coronavirus is overwhelming every hospital in northern Italy,” SKY News reported.

As the deadly pandemic spreads, medical and administrative staff at hospitals around the world have taken to the internet to post the same urgent message, telling people to stay at home and reduce the spread of the virus so that medical facilities will not be overwhelmed.

The pictures are almost the same in scores of countries and languages: doctors, nurses, orderlies and technicians wearing protective masks and gowns and holding up signs, sometimes in multiple tongues, repeating the directive from health authorities to shelter in place and keep the coronavirus from spreading.

The message is the same in Israel, where the health system is feeling the pressure and hospitals are bracing for what they fear may be thousands of new cases of coronavirus in the coming weeks.

At Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, medical staff wearing surgical masks posted a picture on the hospital’s Twitter account of themselves holding signs in the different languages spoken in Israel, saying in Hebrew, English, Arabic, Amharic and Russian: “We stayed at work for you, so please stay at home for us.”