Shocking photographs reveal doctors and nurses working 12-hour nights

Heartbreaking photographs reveal doctors and nurses working a 12-hour night shift in an NHS intensive care unit fighting coronavirus

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The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the dedication of NHS staff. None more so than ICU doctors and nurses who treat the most critical ill amongst us.  

Photographer Christopher Bobyn of Nine, BBC News Scotland was granted exclusive access to the NHS ICU at Hairmyres hospital, in East Kilbride Scotland over a period of 12 hours.

According to the BBC, Hairmyres Hospital normally has one intensive care unit, but now they have now added two Covid wards and two ICU areas for Covid patients.

The primary ICU has been running at 240% capacity for most of the pandemic, and it is now been equipped to accommodate up to 400%.

The photos showcase the realities of working in a high intensity job as so many on the NHS frontline are doing at this difficult time. 

Clad in cumbersome but life-saving PPE, healthcare workers continue their work under the added strain of an increased infection risk. 

Hairmyres Hospital’s Dr Austin Rattray leads the overnight ICU team of 30 nursing staff and clinical support workers, three consultants and two junior doctors.

Many of the staff at the ICU have been brought in from other departments, specially retrained to help with the coronavirus effort.  

The doctors and nurses help other members of staff put on their PPE at the beginning of their shift

Dr Austin Rattray leads the overnight ICU team of 30 nursing staff and clinical support workers, three consultants and two junior doctors

NHS staff with their names on their equipment so patients and their colleagues can recognise them

A nurse checks up on a patient recently removed from a ventilator. Strict isolation is in place to limit the spread of the virus, meaning families are not permitted into the ICU to visit desperately sick relatives

Doctors monitor a patient in an induced coma, usually patients are kept sedated but alert but not if they have coronavirus

Anaesthetic trainee Katie Maguire, showing the marks left by her PPE after a 12-hour shift. She does not normally work in intensive care, but has been drafted in during the pandemic

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A doctor oversees his team as they put on their PPE for the night taking care not to leave any inch unprotected

The ICU team works together seamlessly as they discuss a patient’s treatment

A doctor examines a patient’s chest ex-ray to make sure there is no fluid in their lungs 

A coronavirus patient is lifted by in the ICU team, in preparation for a chest X-ray. He was one of five patients requiring extensive 24-hour care throughout the night

Covid-19 patient Lynn Plunkett is recovering after time spent in the ICU. She says: ‘The doctor asked me if I should be resuscitated if needed. I said you keep me alive no matter what. I have my first grandson being born in two weeks and I need to meet him. You keep me alive no matter what.’

The dramatic moment the medical team ‘prones’ a patient whose oxygen levels suddenly dropped dangerously low, turning the patient on to their front side to ease their breathing

Doctors in the ICU help a desperately ill patient breath with the aid of a pump 

ICU charge nurse Morag Malcom monitors the breathing of a desperately ill patient

Doctors tend to a patient in the ICU at Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride

One coronavirus patient has been unable to breath without a ventilator for 23 days

An NHS staff member in full PPE finds a quiet moment to pose for a photograph at the end of her shift

A doctor adjusts a patient’s apparatus whilst checking his or her vital statistics

Nurses and doctors cooperate to treat a patient who has been admitted to the ICU

The team treat a patient needing urgent help in ICU, the priority is to ease the patient’s breathing

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