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Doctor admits fears of being ‘overwhelmed’ by coronavirus as hospital reveals four more deaths

PUBLISHED: 15:59 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:36 07 April 2020

Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Gorleston's James Paget University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Four more coronavirus-related deaths have been announced at the James Paget Hospital, bringing the number of total confirmed deaths at the hospital up to 21.

It came as one doctor at the Gorleston hospital warned staff feared being overwhelmed by the crisis.

In a statement, the hospital said: “Sadly, we can confirm that four patients who were being cared for at the James Paget University Hospital, and had tested positive for COVID-19, have died.

“The patients who died were a woman in her 90s; a man in his 90s; a man in his 80s and a man in his 50s.

“All four patients had underlying health conditions.

The James Paget Hospital's new 'respiratory A&E' unit. Photo: Simon StevensThe James Paget Hospital's new 'respiratory A&E' unit. Photo: Simon Stevens

“Their families have been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult and distressing time.”

A patient being treated for coronavirus was also confirmed dead at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital - however there were no recorded deaths at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

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The statement comes as Dr Michael Brooks from JPUH admitted that there was “an underlying fear and trepidation” staff may soon be overwhelmed.

Talking to BBC News, Dr Brooks said: “East Norfolk is a week behind London in terms of case load, and the current mood among staff is that we are not yet inundated.

A staff member in protective clothing at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Dr Brooks said that there was A staff member in protective clothing at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Dr Brooks said that there was "no shortage" of equipment at the James Paget in gorleston and that the hospital were following Public Health England's advice with regards to keeping staff safe. Picture: QEH

“But we are seeing cases increasing on a day to day basis.

“And though we are coping at the moment and there is still capacity, it’s true that it is filling up rapidly.”

He added: “The difficulty is that nobody knows how high the peak is going to be, and we have no idea how busy things are going to get.

“There is definitely an underlying trepidation that the hospital is going to get overwhelmed.

“There’s also the worry that as a doctor or nurse you could get infected yourself - and in the back of our minds is the constant thought that we could be one of the 20% who do have a rough course with coronavirus.

Dr Michael Brooks from the JPUH. Picture: James Paget HospitalDr Michael Brooks from the JPUH. Picture: James Paget Hospital

“But at this hospital, we’ve seen no shortages of protective equipment and feel very safe when dealing with the disease.”

Dr Brooks also admitted that staff “just do not know” why some people experience mild symptoms and others serious ones.

But he added that, despite staff spending ten hours a day in their gowns tending to patients, their main motivation is to help people.

He said: “That’s our passion and our main drive - to get out there and tend to patients who need us.”


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