Covid ward doctor scarred for life after telling cancer patients 'we can't treat them'

Watch the full interview with Charanpreet Khaira

A doctor has described being "scarred for life" after working on a Covid ward and having to tell cancer patients "we can't treat them" because of the virus.

Dr Dai Samuel is a consultant at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and has been working on a Covid ward since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Like many healthcare workers, the virus has had a profound impact on his professional and personal life.

"At the peak I counted five or six deaths within 24 hours, followed by another five or six deaths in 24 hours. That was 12 patients - and people - who had died, and the families that were hit by that death.

"Having to speak to families over the phone to break that news, that's not something I'm used to doing and something I hope I never have to do again.

"Seeing so many patients so unwell on one ward and so many patients dying on one day, I think those memories and things that I've had to see and do will stick with me for years to come."

Dr Dai Samuel is a consultant at the Royal Glamorgan hospital in Llantrisant.

Dr Samuel described how "difficult" it was treating patients with a condition that he had also had.

"I'm fit and healthy and it even wiped me out for six or seven days, and several weeks after that.

"Knowing that most of the patient I was looking after were those who were older, frailer, and weren't going to go to intensive care. I knew that for them this could be the thing that killed them."

Dr Samuel described his experience of coronavirus after he recovered at the end of April:

Outside of his work on the Covid ward Dr Samuel is a consultant hepatologist - which means he is a specialist in the liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, and pancreas.

He has diagnosed several patients with cancer during lockdown

He has had to tell some they have no treatment options when, if the virus had not struck, there would have been more they could do.

"During the outbreak I've probably had to tell 11 or 12 patients they've got cancer. Some were over the phone.

"Having to tell them they've got a life-limiting, or perhaps life-threatening disease and we can't treat them at this point in time because of lockdown - that was horrendous.

"I think that is something that will scar me for life."

He has warned the public to not "think it's gone" as lockdown restrictions continue to be eased in Wales.

"Covid has not gone away. It probably will not go away for many years to come, if ever.

"It's great we can have some form of normality but even the new normal is not what it was before.

"You can perhaps see from my face, there's still marks from my masks so for us Covid is always there and we're already on our knees after the first wave."