Ester, Paulo and Luís do not know each other, but they have several things in common. You will be hospitalized at the São João Hospital in Porto. They have Covid-19 and they all need a machine or hose to breathe as they are low in oxygen.
Esther is waiting for news in one of the emergency chairs. He has difficulty remembering the details of what happened. She doesn’t know how she got to the emergency room or how many hours she was here, but she is sure she has been Covid-19 for “a long time.” The force that you need to muster to cough often removes the mask from your mouth and nose. He says he has no trouble breathing, but the tube that gives him oxygen tells a different story.
Luís breathes alone, almost as if it were the first time. At the age of 40, he spent about 20 days in a coma in the intensive care unit of the Infectious Diseases Service of Hospital de São João because of an infection with the new coronavirus. He became “extubated” – a word that usually means the worst is over – less than 24 hours ago. However, there is still a long recovery process ahead of us. First, because you need to spend some time in the intensive care unit, now awake: you still need the help of non-invasive ventilation to breathe.
Paulo was transferred from intensive care to a ward yesterday. When he lost his appetite and his sense of smell wasn’t strange, he thought it was a cold. But then he got short of breath and “knew immediately” that something was wrong. Yesterday, this 54-year-old law enforcement officer spoke to the family for the first time since entering intensive care. Conversations take place via message as Paulo is still receiving oxygen. A single sentence has to be interrupted several times, that’s the effort to speak.
The PUBLIC spent five days in the 160,000 m² Hospital de São João following these and other stories. See below the pictures of this report.