'Many of them feel the scars of covid': Inside Queens Hospital Romford ICU

Over Easter the intensive care unit (ICU) at Queen's Hospital in Romford had expanded from 24 beds to 120.

On Thursday (26 June) there were just three covid patients in ICU.

The most stressful part was not knowing when we'll see the peak because the number of cases was going up and it was getting more and more intense.

DR TOMAS JOVAISA

Mohammed has been at Romford Hospital for two months. Half of that time he was on a ventilator - in a coma.

He said he had never had any health problems previously and was a "healthy 58 year-old."

Mohammed as a healthy 58 year old never thought he would get covid 19

I think I died. At some point I died.I'm a healthy man. 58 years old. I never had problems. I had no problems but I go through hell but this NHS service are brilliant and their staff actually support me.

MOHAMMED BHUYIAN

419 of Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trusts patients have died with the virus along with two members of staff.

Without the efforts of the whole team - it could have been many more.

One of the biggest challenges for doctors was they didn't know exactly how Covid attacks the body.

But quite early on they learnt that it did attack the kidneys and that more and more patients about 30% would require dialysis.

Due to the high demand they had to set up an ad hoc dialysis unit.

Due to the high demand they had to set up an ad hoc dialysis unit.

A set up like this would take normally 2 years they managed in 10 days.

It's now been 15 weeks since the first case of covid and the strain has taken its toll on the staff both mentally and physically.

There is nothing that can prepare you for what was happening. There's no surprise that many of them feel scars of the Covid. We did put psychological support in place and there is more coming. As a result of it we are planning now a regular psychology service within the critical care for staff specifically.

DR TOMAS JOVAISA

On the red ward staff are in full PPE for 6 hours shifts.

But with lockdown restrictions starting to be eased, some of the staff say they are concerned about how the hospital would cope if there were a second surge.

Dr Rajesh Jain is concerned whether hospitals will cope if there is a second wave.

Personally I think very anxious about it. If we do have a second surge because of a lot of our staff including myself are pretty much exhausted. On other hand we are pleased the lockdown has eased off on a personal level because we can get to go and see our families.

DR RAJESH JAIN
Mohammed is due to be discharged in two weeks time and is looking forward to being back home with his family.

Doctors said the practical procedures are now in place to cope with another wave - but no one wants to relive that nightmare

Not least Mohammed's wife and 5 year old daughter.

Mohammed should be discharged in a fortnight - like other COVID survivors he'll have the chance to put a bee sticker onto the tree of life

Mohammed should be discharged in a fortnight - like other Covid survivors he'll have the chance to put a bee sticker onto the tree of life - a symbol of survival and a celebration for all who have made it possible.