24 Hours in A& E viewers in tears over doctor working Covid

Doctor breaks down as he describes being a ‘conduit for love’ for dying patients and separated families to communicate during ‘merciless’ first wave – leaving 24 Hours in A&E viewers in tears

  • Viewers were in tears after watching Dr Richard on 24 Hours in A&E last night 
  • He described working at St George’s in London during the Covid-19 pandemic 
  • Broke down in tears as he said he was a ‘conduit of love’ for separated families 
  • Said he would call families and ask: “If your dad could answer, what would he say are things he’s proud of in his life?”
  • Wept as he describe the crisis as ‘merciless’, adding: ‘It was really hard’

Viewers of 24 Hours in A&E were left in tears after watching a doctor weep while he described connecting dying patients with their families during the first ‘merciless’ Covid-19 wave. 

In last night’s episode of the Channel 4 show, stroke registrar Richard, from London, revealed how he returned from academia to work at St George’s Hospital during the crisis because it was ‘something he needed to do.’

He said he initially thought he would be ‘an iPad stand’ to ‘allow someone’s family to have a Zoom type conversation with someone who has a breathing tube down their neck who can’t say anything’.

But Richard broke down in tears as he said that was the ‘smallest aspect’ of his work, saying: ‘We would call families and ask things like, “If your dad could answer, what would he say are things he’s proud of in his life”…We became a conduit of this emotion and love. It was really hard.’

Viewers of 24 Hours in A&E were left in tears after watching Richard, from London, weep while describing connecting patients with their families during the first ‘merciless’ Covid-19 wave 

Many of those watching were left sobbing over the emotional programme, with one saying: ‘That doctor has just made me cry. We can never repay the debt we owe to all HCPs for getting us through this pandemic thus far.’

Another wrote: ‘Really moving testimony from #24HrsAE doctor about how they would use iPads to connect with relatives of patients during COVID, and would bring them to life by asking them about their lives.’ 

Speaking in the autumn of 2020, Richard explained how he hadn’t originally wanted to be a doctor and had hoped to join the armed forces as a child. 

However he said a work experience placement at a hospital changed his mind, revealing: ‘A registrar said to me, “Medicine is a fantastic job. Everyone whinges about the money whatever they do but I would do my job for free – I would pay to do my job.”‘

Many of those watching were left sobbing over the emotional programme, and said Richard’s story was ‘so moving’ 

He said he was ‘blown away’ and immediately decided to commit himself to a career in medicine, which he acknowledged hasn’t always been easy.’  

Richard explained: ‘There are the hours I’m rotated to work and then there are the hours I do work, because patients don’t just stop getting sick because it has turned 5pm.

‘There’s lots of days when you don’t leave when you want. It’s not even on the agenda that I could attend sports day or the nursery Christmas party. It’s not a matter of considering it – it doesn’t happen.’

Richard went on to say that he had made ‘huge sacrifices’ during 2020, adding: ‘For all of us, this year has been really difficult.’

Richard, who was working in academia when the Covid-19 crisis struck and returned to the frontline to help, described how hard the first wave had been 

He continued: ‘My plan at the beginning of the year was to get all my research finished, my son would be born and then I could have some nice time off with the family.

‘Then 2020 happened. The hospital where I was working in academia said if anyone wants to go back to the front line, we won’t stand in your way I felt that was something I needed to do.

‘I went to intensive care and joined the family liason team.’

He said: ‘I can only imagine how difficult it is to be a patient at the moment. That isolation of being on your own with no one you know or recognise is tough.’

The doctor broke down in tears as he explained how he would help separated families communicate with loved-ones during their last moments 

Speaking about joining the frontline at the start of the pandemic, Richard continued:  ‘The Intensive care doctors and nurses were completely overwhelmed with the burden of work they had. 

‘One thing that no one had time for was speaking to the family and finding out who these people were.’

He said he initially thought he would ‘basically act as an iPad stand’, but quickly realised the job was much more than that.

Richard explained: ‘The things we would find out about the patient…suddenly they were husbands, mothers, sisters, they were people with stories. 

Richard described becoming a ‘conduit of emotion and love’ during the pandemic for families who were separated 

‘Covid was merciless every day and every day the people you had got to know were gone.’

Breaking down in tears, he continued: ‘We became a conduit of this emotion and love, it was really hard.

‘But I also learned some incredible things that I cant imagine I’ll ever forget. I realised how important it is to be with your family.’

Many viewers were left sobbing over the emotional testimony from the doctor, with one person saying: ‘So now I’m sobbing. I love our NHS. We are so so lucky. I wouldn’t be here without it. #24HrsAE.’

‘Wow you can hear in that Doctor’s voice how traumatic Covid has been for them when he was talking about his patient’s lives. #24HrsAE.’  

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