Doctor Francesca Cortellaro, from the San Carlo Borromeo Hospital in Milan, is one of much medical staff in Italy to speak candidly about their struggle with coronavirus.

Many have shared harrowing tales and photos of exhausting shifts – and of the toll the battle is taking. One has likened the virus to an earthquake. Dr. Cortellaro told Italian newspaper Il Giornale:
“You know what’s most dramatic? Seeing patients dying alone, listening to them as they beg you to say goodbye to their children and grandchildren.”.
Dr. Cortellaro went on to say how coronavirus patients arrive on their own, and “when they are about to die, they sense it”. “They are lucid, they do not go into narcolepsy. It is as if they were drowning, but with time to understand it,”.

She described how a dying grandmother asked her to see her granddaughter.
“I pulled out the phone and called her on video.
They said goodbye. Soon after she was gone.

“By now I have a long list of video calls. I call it a farewell list.”
Italian doctors have been struggling with the rate of infected patients, and fears are mounting the national health system, considered one of the best in the world, may not be able to keep up with the disease.