When threats fail… it’s time to go back to begging again.
Then, we’re just going to starve you.
On the third floor of one of the country’s biggest hospital trusts, a team of intensive care specialists in masks and visors huddle around a screened bay where a critically ill patient lies unconscious surrounded by cables and tubes.
The elderly man’s breathing is supported by a ventilator and he is connected to an arterial line to measure blood pressure. He is fed by a gastric tube, and a nearby stack of six monitors provide updates on his condition, from oxygen levels to heart rate.
He is one of 14 Covid patients on a critical care ward which is at capacity this weekend. He is receiving some of the best medical care in the world, but his concerned medical team know the long-term prognosis for this patient at the unit in King’s College hospital in south London, and many like him, is uncertain.
Staff who spoke to the Observer during a visit to the Covid wards said most of these dangerously ill patients recently admitted to critical beds were unvaccinated.
14 coronavirus patients on the full critical care ward!
Medical teams at King’s are now bracing themselves for a new influx of patients infected by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. They are urging people to get their jabs.
About a third of patients who are transferred to critical care beds with Covid will die, according to several studies carried out during the pandemic. Most will gradually improve over a week to 10 days, and a small number will require long-term treatment – for three months and longer – in the unit.
Doctors and nurses say they are deeply concerned at the number of seriously ill patients being transferred to critical care beds who are still unvaccinated.
Michael Bartley, a critical care matron at King’s, estimated that “80 to 90%” in the hospital’s critical care beds were unvaccinated.
He said: “We are not here to judge patients – we are here to look after them – but this can be a scary place. If the patient is too unwell, we will take over their breathing, intubating and ventilating them.
Dr Laura-Jane Smith, a respiratory consultant who works on a Covid ward at King’s, said on Friday: “I have seen four new patients admitted to the ward this morning aged between 40 and 90. They are all unvaccinated.
“I haven’t sent anyone to intensive care recently who has had any vaccines. Even if people who are vaccinated are getting sick, they’re not getting as sick. The ones we are seeing are going home much quicker and with less complications. It’s hard to hear people who are so sick saying: ‘I just wish I had got the vaccine’.”
What appears to be happening is that these “doctors” are checking if the people showing up at the hospital are vaccinated, and if they’re not, and they have mild symptoms that normally would only result in telling the person to rest at home, they’re put on ventilators and killed.
Dr Laura there is even doing the “I just wish I had got the vaccine” meme.