Harrowing video from a hospital at the center of Italy's coronavirus outbreak shows doctors overwhelmed by critical patients

Harrowing video from a hospital at the center of Italy's coronavirus outbreak shows doctors overwhelmed by critical patients
Bergamo hospital italy coronavirus
  • Warning: This post contains video of acute COVID-19 cases which some people may find distressing to watch.
  • Footage from a hospital in Bergamo, Italy, shows medical workers struggling to deal with the city's coronavirus crisis.
  • Sky News broadcast images from a makeshift ICU ward in the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital March 19.
  • The video shows dozens of patients with plastic ventilation covers over their heads.
  • Wards and corridors are packed, and doctors and nurses in protective gear are seen stretched to their limits.
  • Bergamo is Italy's worst-hit city, with 4,645 infections. Residents have been on a total lockdown since March 8.
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Stark footage from a hospital in Bergamo - Italy's worst-hit city - shows doctors and nurses desperately fighting to control the coronavirus outbreak.


The video, broadcast Thursday by Sky News from the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital, shows an emergency arrivals ward. It has been transformed into an intensive care unit (ICU) because the regular ICU is already full.

4,645 people from Bergamo have so far tested positive for the virus as of Friday morning, more cases than any other city or town in Italy, according to data published in the Corriere Della Sera newspaper. The exact number of deaths in Bergamo is not yet known.

Watch the Sky broadcast here:

The footage shows wards with more patients than they can handle, and dozens of suffering patients. The staff are clearly overwhelmed.


The hospital's head of emergency care, Dr Roberto Cosentini, told Sky News: "It's a very severe pneumonia, and so it's a massive strain for every health system, because we see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen,"

"And so we had to reorganize our emergency room and our hospital [to] three levels of intensive care."

Bergamo hospital

Most of the city's public services are in crisis.

On Wednesday night, 15 Italian military trucks were seen ferrying around 60 bodies from morgues across the city to cremation sites in 12 other northern Italian towns, after Bergamo's mayor called for aid.

Several morgues and Bergamo's sole crematorium, which can only cremate 25 people a day, are overwhelmed.


Churches are banned from holding services, but have been used to store coffins. The gymnasium at Ponte San Pietro Hospital was turned into a makeshift mortuary.

Italian army bergamo

Residents have been confined to their homes since March 8, when the government quarantined 16 million people in 14 provinces in northern Italy, including Lombardy, the province which contains Bergamo.

The obituary pages of the L'Ecio Di Bergamo newspaper used to number two or three, now they regularly stretch to 10.

On Thursday, Stefano Fagiuoli, head of the hospital's department of medicine, turned to Facebook to ask people to donate to help the hospital on GoFundMe.

Amid the bad news, a 22-day-old baby admitted to the hospital who tested positive for the coronavirus has recovered and been allowed to go home, according to Il Messagero.