THE BELFAST Health Trust’s respiratory team has issued a desperate appeal to the public to stay at home and help save lives during the coronavirus pandemic
Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists from the Trust have teamed up for a special video designed to highlight the potentially devastating impact COVID-19 could have on families across Northern Ireland if people don’t remain at home during the crisis.
The video features various members of the Belfast Trust respiratory team standing two metres apart – the recommended distance during the coronavirus pandemic - in the atrium of Mater Hospital.
It begins with a consultant telling viewers: "We are now in the greatest medical crisis of our lifetime. Stay at home."
Another consultant adds: "We are now at a crucial time, this is not a rehearsal, you will only have one chance at this. Stay at home."
"We all have a choice, if you choose to stay at home, you will save lives," states another respiratory consultant.
His colleague then continues: "I've been a doctor for 35 years, we're facing our greatest challenge and we're frightened. Help us, please stay at home."
A respiratory physiotherapist then asks: "I know where my kids are, where are your kids?
"Keep them at home, stay at home."
Her nurse colleague meanwhile says: "Doctors and nurses have died, we need your help so we can help you."
— Belfast Trust (@BelfastTrust) March 22, 2020
It then cuts to Anne Marie Marley, a respiratory nurse consultant, who explains how staff are working overtime to prepare for the surge in Covid-19 cases over the next few weeks.
"Never in my 34 years of nursing have I seen anything remotely like what we are currently facing," she said.
"This is like something we could never have imagined.
"I think when we began to see what was happening in Italy and subsequently what's happening in London and other cities, it has become clear about the importance of every single person staying at home.
"We are so worried about what is coming and that's why we're trying to do everything to get the message out there that people need to stay at home and only go out when absolutely essential.
"This isn't the media scaremongering, we have to take this seriously or the ramifications are too awful to think about."
Ms Marley added that while Northern Ireland will see a surge in patients over the next fortnight, people can still do their part to help the health service.
"We know the surge is coming," she said. "Even if you think the virus won't hit you that hard, every single person has the ability to help save lives by following the social distancing."