For Milan nurse, virus patients enter the soul

Apr 19, 2020 212

The coronavirus brings with it forced isolation: Family members can't visit hospitalized patients. Nursing homes bar their doors to outsiders. People with mild cases or who have been in contact with infected persons must stay in quarantine. Cristina Settembrese spends her days caring for COVID-19 patients in a hospital ward, and when she goes home, her personal isolation begins by her own choice.

The 54-year-old has been a nurse since she was 18. Two months ago, the infectious disease ward where she works at San Paolo Hospital in Milan started treating only COVID-19 patients. Suddenly, she had to learn how to operate machines she likens to “helmets” to help patients breathe. She studied the operating instructions at home in a kind of self-taught cram course.

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