P R O J E C T S
March 2020 - March 2021
DIRTY AND CLEAN
THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Photo reportage of San Paolo and San Carlo Borromeo Hospitals during Covid-19 sanitary emergency, Milan, Italy.
The images below were taken during the sanitary emergency caused by the new acute respiratory disease from SARS-CoV-2 or Coronavirus. The report shows the working methodology used in San Carlo and San Paolo hospitals in Milan since the beginning of March when the national health system, especially in northern Italy, found itself facing an already seriously compromised and, above all, unexpected situation.
The organization of a complex system such as the hospital has put a strain on doctors and professionals who have found themselves changing all their working habits. Movements of entire departments, designation of "dirty" units (areas containing Covid-19 patients) and "clean" units (areas with patients of all kinds not affected by Covid), construction of separation walls within the same departments and a extraordinary quantity of supplies both for prevention such as masks, gloves, disinfectant gels, protective suits, and for care, such as respirators and special machineries.
This extraordinary situation required a tremendous effort by every single member of the national health service, from cleaners to primaries and managers.
These pictures show how each department performs its duties with the main purpose of avoiding the spread of the virus without sacrificing the quality of the assistance service for the other patients and how the individual habits of each doctor have changed in dealing with the emergency.
Listening to patients, doctors and nurses, I collected some statements that best explain the situation they are experiencing:
“Since the beginning of the emergency and the consequently collapse of our health system, we found ourselves in a dramatic situation and many things have changed in our unit. The famous weekend of March 7/8, we literally built walls between units, to distinguish “dirty” patients from those who weren’t affected by Covid-19. It was crazy, we had to manage everything in a hurry and we’ve done our best. We were exhausted.”
"The very first week of the emergency, nobody in this unit came to work in the morning without telling the nightmares he had during the night. Nobody could sleep. Everytime my shift was over I started crying and crying. It was unbearable."
"In our history we've surely been in worst situation such as the two world wars. But, believe me, in the hospitals, this is a war. Nothing more, nothing less. Same dispair."
"We are here to help. We Can't rest. Our job is to save lives and we will always do our best."
"Here everything is done in order to prevent the spread of the virus and when I say everything, I mean everything. From the most trivial gesture like washing your hands and cleaning your glasses when you leave any kind of room, to the most important things."
"I have been to all departments of this hospital. I've been here for two months and I still don't believe I'm alive. After almost twenty days in intensive care, I no longer had a perception of reality. it was terrible. I will soon be able to go home."
- Covid-19 patient
"When I was in the Intensive Care Unit I was one of the few lucid patients. What I saw was distressing. I used to divide other patients in two categories. Those who have something to fight for and those who haven't. There's something worse than being hospitalized for this disease: being also alone. I saw lonely people who had no one waiting for them outside the hospital. It made me sad."
- Covid-19 patient
"This virus is f***ing sneaky! but I beat it!"
- Covid-19 patient