Follow-up to powerful documentary on Covid battle in St. James’ Hospital to air on RTÉ tonight 3 months ago

Follow-up to powerful documentary on Covid battle in St. James’ Hospital to air on RTÉ tonight

“I’m fit, healthy and it’s absolutely floored me.”

After a huge response to an RTE Investigates documentary on the battle against Covid-19 in one of Ireland’s biggest hospitals last month, a follow-up documentary from inside St. James' Hospital will air on RTÉ One tonight (22 July).

The programme will hear stark accounts from bone marrow transplant patients going through weeks in solitary isolation with the bare minimum of human physical contact.

It will also tell of the long-term physical and psychological impact of the virus on young nurses and healthcare assistants and tellingly, explore the hospital’s emergency department, where, after a lull, the number of patients is rapidly returning to pre-Covid levels.

Tonight’s documentary, like the original aired from St. James’ Hospital, promises to be a very powerful watch and is set to initiate public debate around Covid-19 and the country's healthcare system again, at a time when the number of cases has risen in recent weeks.

As well as examining how the delivery of healthcare in Ireland has radically changed in the wake of Covid-19 and how the changes will impact significantly on patients and staff for the foreseeable future, it will also feature a number of moving personal stories.

One of those stories will feature Elaine (42) from Carlow, who has acute leukaemia and is receiving chemotherapy.

"The fact of not being able to have visitors, just missing the human contact, you are given this awful diagnosis and you can’t get a hug, someone can’t even hold your hand and you’ve to pull yourself back together so that you can get through it," she says.

David McGrattan, a healthcare assistant, speaks of the impact of Covid-19 on his family, saying: "The bad side of it was, I had passed it onto my partner. Which then proceeded to be passed onto my three-month old son, Tommy... before I had got a swab I was isolating but it was too late, that’s the problem, how contagious it is."

Kelly Talty, a 27-year-old nurse, says the virus “absolutely floored” her and pleads with the public to do what’s necessary to contain it.

"I’m fit, healthy and it’s absolutely floored me,” she says.

“It’s nearly annoying, I know obviously restrictions are being lifted, but when you can see everyone is out, and you just feel, please adhere to it and stay in a little bit longer and everything like that - because they think they are going to be fine, it’s like a flu, you’ll never even know you have it - and it is a month later I am here in a hospital bed, when I should be at work.”

RTÉ Investigates: Future Health Care airs tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.