Video of dead ‘covid patient’ slumped in Naples hospital ward toilet and people ‘abandoned in their own excrement’ shocks Italy as cases and deaths spiral
- Unidentified man lay dead in Cardarelli hospital lavatory in the city of Naples
- Just feet away patients lie on beds in A&E waiting room turned to makeshift ward
- The situation in Naples was described as ‘out of control’ by a minister today
- Italy recorded 623 deaths on Wednesday – the highest figure since April 6
- WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT:
Video has emerged of a corpse sprawled across a hospital lavatory in a makeshift ward overflowing with coronavirus patients amid spiralling cases and deaths in Italy.
The unidentified man was a suspected coronavirus sufferer who had been waiting for a test in the packed, squalid A&E waiting room of Cardarelli Hospital in Naples.
The man filming, himself a Covid patient, says: ‘This man is dead, this is Cardarelli Hospital. Here we are, the emergency department.
‘This woman in her own piss and excrement, we don’t know if she’s dead or alive. The woman over there, we know nothing.’
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who comes from the region, said today: ‘The situation in Naples and in many areas of Campania is out of control … the central government needs to intervene because there is no time left.’
The unidentified man was a suspected coronavirus sufferer and was pictured sprawled across the lavatory the door of which opened directly into an A&E waiting room overflowing with patients in beds in Naples
Patients are seen lying in hospital beds set up in the waiting room of an A&E at the hospital in Naples
The hospital appears to be absolutely packed with patients to the extent the A&E waiting room has been converted into a ward
Italy recorded another 623 deaths on Wednesday – the highest figure since the dark days of April 6
The total number of cases roared past the one million mark on Wednesday – with half of those infections emerging in just the last 19 days
Health officials said they were investigating the death, but Di Maio said this was just the latest shocking incident he had heard about in recent days from Campania.
Rosario Lamonica, who took the video, said he shot the footage so that people could know what was going on.
‘When I asked for help, nobody listened to me, there were also those who told me “mind your own business.”‘ Lamonica said.
The 30-year-old had been in the hospital for two days after testing positive for Covid-19 and experiencing breathing problems.
‘That person (the dead man) was with me in the room, together with other old men,’ Lamonica told Italian press agency ANSA.
Di Maio wrote on Facebook: ‘The video of the patient found dead in the bathroom of Cardarelli Hospital is shocking. The life and right to health of every single citizen are priorities that must be protected above all else. If the local authorities fail to do so, the State must do it.
‘I have kept silent until now out of respect for all institutions but now we must intervene immediately especially in the south, which risks collapsing.’
Officials said Campania reflected a wider health calamity playing out across much of Italy’s south, which emerged largely unscathed from the initial wave of COVID-19 that mainly battered the north. But it is being hammered by the second wave.
Italy recorded another 623 deaths on Wednesday – the highest figure since April 6.
Meanwhile the total number of cases roared past the one million mark – with half of those infections emerging in just the last 19 days.
There have been a total of 42,953 deaths – the sixth highest in the world.
Hospitals across the country have struggled to manage the skyrocketing COVID-19 numbers, but the poorer south has appeared particularly ill-equipped to cope despite having all summer to bolster their defences.
The sick in Naples have been administered oxygen and placed on drips through their car windows as they wait for hours for COVID tests or to be admitted to hospital.
Medical workers arrive in an ambulance with a COVID-19 patient on a stretcher to the infectious diseases emergency unit at the Cotugno hospital in Naples on Thursday
Medical workers stretch a patient into the pre-triage access of the emergency department of the Cardarelli hospital in Naples
A patient on a medical bed is being admitted into the pre-triage access of the emergency department of the Cardarelli hospital in Naples on Thursday
Further south, on the island of Sicily, the mayor of Palermo warned on Monday his region faced an ‘inevitable massacre’ as infections rose there.
‘The north has always had a well-equipped health system spread out across the territory. The situation there might not be optimal, but the south by comparison is a wasteland,’ Carlo Palermo, head of the ANAAO-ASSOMED doctors’ union, told Reuters.
Latest government figures from 2018 show this divide, with annual per-capita health spending coming in at £1,844 in the northern region of Liguria and £1,772 in neighbouring Emilia-Romagna.
In Campania it was £1,524, the lowest in Italy, and £1,532 in nearby Calabria.
But it is not just a question of money. Poor management has also taken a heavy toll in the south.
The issue came into focus this month when the health commissioner for Calabria was interviewed on state television and initially denied any responsibility for having to draw up a long-delayed emergency plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
To prove his point, Saverio Cotticelli, a retired general, produced the health ministry letter that established the guidelines. Still on camera, the truth slowly dawned on him that he was indeed responsible for drawing up the plan.
He resigned the following day.
Calabria had 146 intensive-care beds available at the start of the year. This number had risen to just 154 by the end of October despite the Rome government telling regions to double their emergency room capacity over the summer.
When the national government split the country into three tiers this month to reflect the differing health risks, it immediately put Calabria into the ‘red zone’ and imposed a partial lockdown.
Using an algorithm based on 21 indicators, Campania, to widespread surprise, was placed in the lowest-risk ‘yellow zone’.
The decision raised questions about whether the region was supplying reliable data, and the Rome health ministry has dispatched inspectors to review the situation.
Maurizio Cappiello, an emergency services doctor at Naples Cardarelli hospital and a member of the ANAAO-ASSOMED union, said the virus was spreading exponentially.
‘We have passed a critical level of alarm. The only way to manage the emergency in Campania is a total lockdown,’ he said.
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