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Spanish nurses witness grim solitude of COVID-19

As the virus shrinks the worlds of patients to a hospital ward, in the absence of loved ones they are deeply grateful for the nurses’ care.

November 30, 2020 / 03:50 PM IST
For nurse Marta Fernández, the fall resurgence of COVID-19 in Spain has been less traumatic in medical terms than during the initial spring outbreak. But seeing her patients die in the Barcelona hospital where she works, without visits from family or friends, forced into grim solitude by the coronavirus, was no easier. (Image: AP)
For nurse Marta Fernández, the fall resurgence of COVID-19 in Spain has been less traumatic in medical terms than during the initial spring outbreak. But seeing her patients die in the Barcelona hospital where she works, without visits from family or friends, forced into grim solitude by the coronavirus, was no easier. (Image: AP)
Fernández, who has been working at the Hospital del Mar for more than 25 years, is one of the staff who have helped patients deal emotionally with the isolation of being hospitalized with COVID-19. Nurse Marta Fernandez poses for a photo at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Fernández, who has been working at the Hospital del Mar for more than 25 years, is one of the staff who have helped patients deal emotionally with the isolation of being hospitalised with COVID-19. Fernandez poses for a photo at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital on November 18. (Image: AP)
The virus shrinks their worlds to a hospital ward, and in the absence of loved ones they are deeply grateful for the nurses’ care. A nursing assistant who works with nurse Marta Fernandez works at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
The virus shrinks their worlds to a hospital ward and in the absence of the loved ones, they are deeply grateful for the nurses’ care. A nursing assistant who works with nurse Marta Fernandez at the COVID-19 ward at the del Mar hospital in Barcelona, November 18. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez holds the hand of one of her patients, Maria Teresa Argullos, 94, at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. "The worst thing about this pandemic is seeing how patients deal alone with the entire disease process, even with their own death," says Fernández. "Seeing them die alone is the hardest of all." (Image: AP)
Marta Fernandez holds the hand of one of her patients, Maria Teresa Argullos, 94, at the Hospital del Mar on November 18. "The worst thing about this pandemic is seeing how patients deal alone with the entire disease process, even with their own death," says Fernández. "Seeing them die alone is the hardest of all." (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez works at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. For Marta, the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain has been less traumatic in medical terms than during the initial outbreak last spring. But seeing her patients die alone in a Barcelona hospital, forced into grim solitude by the new coronavirus, is no easier. (Image: AP)
Fernandez in the COVID-19 ward of the Hospital del Mar. In recent days, Spain's health ministry has reported a drop in new coronavirus infections, hospitalisation and deaths, a relief for the country hit hard by the second wave of infections. Still,  for nurses like Fernandez, the loneliness of COVID-19 patients is a daily occurrence, something which is emotionally draining. (Image: AP)
Ana Aguilar, a nursing assistant, feeds one of her patients at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. Aguilar asked one of her patients, who was in the last days of her life, if there was anything she could do for her. Her patient said she wanted to eat "salmorejo," a traditional kind of creamy tomato soup, so Aguilar made it at home and took it into the hospital. The patient said, "tasty, tasty, tasty," after each spoonful as she ate it. (Image: AP)
Ana Aguilar, a nursing assistant, feeds one of her patients at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar on November 18. Aguilar asked one of her patients, who was in the last days of her life, if there was anything she could do for her. Her patient said she wanted to eat "salmorejo", a traditional creamy tomato soup, so Aguilar made it at home and took it to the hospital. The patient said, "tasty, tasty, tasty," after each spoonful as she ate it. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez has breakfast for 10 minutes at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Marta Fernandez has breakfast for 10 minutes at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona on November 18. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez holds up a tablet computer over the chest of 94-year-old Maria Teresa Argullos Bove so that she can speak to her sister, children and grandchildren from her hospital bed at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Marta Fernandez holds up a tablet computer over the chest of 94-year-old Maria Teresa Argullos Bove so that she can speak to her sister, children and grandchildren from her hospital bed at the COVID-19 ward of the Hospital del Mar, November 18. (Image: AP)
Photos of Nurse Marta Fernandez's co-workers are pictured on the dining room wall of the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Photos of Nurse Marta Fernandez's co-workers are pictured on the dining room wall of the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
A patient rests in a chair next to his bed at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
A patient rests in a chair next to his bed at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez comforts 94-year-old Maria Teresa Argullos Bove at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez comforts 94-year-old Maria Teresa Argullos Bove at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar, November 18. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez speaks with other nurses at the COVID-19 ward at the hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, November 18. (Image: AP)
Nurse Marta Fernandez speaks with other nurses in the COVID-19 ward of the Hospital del Mar, November 18. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Nov 30, 2020 03:50 pm
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