A shocking image of an elderly man left lying on the floor of a hospital for six hours has revealed the desperate plight of overworked staff in a COVID ward who did not have time to help him.
The man had fallen and reportedly wet himself, and was constantly trying to stand up under his own power as he cried for help, but nobody came.
The picture was shared by Shalom Piniya, a patient in the coronavirus ward in Beersheba’s Soroka hospital in southern Israel to highlight the fact that staff are being overwhelmed by the extent of the crisis.
The claims by the 44-year-old lawyer were made at the same time as a hospital in northern Israel admitted they were unable to offer life-saving treatment to two of their coronavirus patients in a critical condition because of a lack of staff.
It is reportedly the first time that Israeli hospitals had been so stretched that they have actually not been able to offer a full care service to patients.
Local media, which did not name the northern Israeli hospital, said that the patients, aged 65 and 66, needed to be hooked up to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine but the hospital did not have enough staff to carry out the complicated procedure.
As a result, the pair were forced to remain on ventilators.
In the case of the elderly man left lying on the floor, Mr Piniya, who was in the room with him, told local Channel 13 TV he was in tears about what had happened.
"I am mentally broken. I am a very strong person, I have never broken down like this, but this has shattered my soul to pieces,” he said.
"For almost six hours I was in a room with a body next to me.”
The hospital said that they did provide assistance as soon as they are aware of the problem, but it took time as they needed to be properly protected before going into the coronavirus ward.
In a statement, the hospital told local media that the man was currently in good health.
"The coronavirus ward is treating dozens of patients at the moment and medical teams monitor them 24 hours a day. Due to the harsh reality facing the teams, the process of putting on protective gear takes a few minutes,” the hospital said.
Mr Piniya said he did not want to embarrass the hospital but was sharing the story to make people treat the coronavirus seriously.
“Be careful, I was a lion before I came in here — now I am like a little bunny, broken by this virus. Don’t underestimate it,” he said.
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