A CRITICAL care doctor says having to treat other healthcare heroes struck down by coronavirus is "soul destroying".
Dr Alan Courtney revealed that half of the beds on the intensive care unit he works on are filled by other medics – as the crisis over the lack of NHS personal protective equipment (PPE) continues.
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And Dr Courtney, who is an NHS locum doctor in London, slammed the Government for not providing him and his colleagues with enough PPE during the coronavirus pandemic – which was ultimately putting their lives at risk.
In an emotional interview on Sky News, he said: "Realising that half your ward is filled with healthcare professionals…
"There really isn't anything more soul destroying than having to treat a colleague – I can tell you that and I wasn't expecting that.
"There's anger that this has happened to them – could there have been anything to have avoided it?
"Could having more protective equipment, more masks, more gloves, more gowns – could that have prevented it?"
Just yesterday it was revealed that at least 35 NHS staff have died fighting coronavirus – although it is not known how many contracted the virus due to inadequate supplies of PPE.
However, Dr Courtney blamed the Government for putting medics' lives of the line and for not giving them adequate equipment.
He blasted: "We're risking our lives. We're having to do it even more so because we don't have the right equipment which is something that the Government should be giving us."
We're risking our lives
The Government has been under constant pressure to ensure that PPE is dished out to frontline NHS workers.
Droves of doctors and nurses have been snapped wearing rubbish bags around the bodies and mouths as makeshift PPE.
Other medics are said to have bought scrubs on Amazon or had friends knit them protective kit.
And Dr Courtney admitted that as the crisis over the lack of PPE continues to escalate, he expects "a few" of his colleagues to pass away from the deadly bug.
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When asked if he was prepared to see other doctors die from coronavirus, he said: "I mean we're expecting them – we're expecting a few, even from our department.
"I mean, can we ever be ready? I would say no. It's going to happen – I don't think I'll be ready for it."
As well as treating his own colleagues, Dr Courtney opened up about having to treat young children in a critical condition who had contracted coronavirus.
"There are young people who are also dying – it's not just children growing up, it's children dying,' he said.
"Their parents are not allowed in – and it's people not being able to attend the funeral because they're being told to self-isolate."
In particular, Dr Courtney told how a 13-year-old boy died without his family by his side.
Fighting back tears, Dr Courtney added: "Having a 13-year-old boy not have his family by him as he died – not being able to say a goodbye – looking at him…
"I mean I'm glad I'm emotional as I'd be more worried if I wasn't."
Dr Courtney also told how he witnessed a 40-year-old man die on his ward who was "supposed to be sent home" and was recovering from Covid-19.
All of this shows just how devastating this virus is
“We have had one man in his 40s who passed away when we were planning to discharge. We think it was a clot to the lungs," he said.
“All of this shows just how devastating this virus is and rams home just how serious this pandemic is and how it's only going to get worse. I'm just really hoping we can get through it."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock would not apologise over PPE this weekend and denied the Government had been slow to stockpile crucial kit.
He insisted: “We now have record amounts of PPE that’s been put out into the system but until everyone gets the PPE they need then we won’t rest.”
He said it was impossible to set a date by which all frontline workers would get what they needed.
And he added: “It’s impossible because the quest is to get the right PPE to the right people on the front line at the right time across many millions of people across the NHS and social care.
“I’m glad to say that effort is moving in the right direction.”
Mr Hancock hailed the “enormous effort” of those currently trying to source more gowns.
He said: “They often don’t get thanks, the procurement experts, because they’re not on the front line.
"But, by God, do we need them to make sure that we can get all that PPE.”
Mr Hancock also pledged to investigate the exact cause of every NHS worker’s death.
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He added: “We are looking into each circumstance to understand as much as possible how they caught the virus — whether that’s at work, outside of work, and making sure we learn as much as we possibly can.
“The admiration for those who put themselves in harm’s way is incredibly high.
“They are unbelievable and therefore it’s of course incumbent on us to make sure we get to the bottom of each individual case.”
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