The independent London newspaper

Star of special NHS Grazia front cover tells of fear – and hope

'Whittington used to look after smallpox patients - we've survived this before and we will get through it again'

05 April, 2020

AN intensive care doctor part of the team treating coronavirus patients at the Whittington has told of the frightening challenge ahead, but also how she takes hope from how the famous hospital has helped in a crisis before.

Janitha Gowribalan, 35, was one of four NHS workers to appear on special covers of this month’s Grazia, as the magazine celebrated their life-saving work.

Grazia says ‘thank you to the NHS’

“I worry about what will happen if this continues and how we’ll cope,” she told the magazine. “We have put more staff on the wards, but I worry, too, about how long it takes to put on our protective clothing to treat these patients. All the equipment we need is available, but it can take a team 20 minutes to just get on the gowns, hats, gloves, goggles and masks.”

She explained the process of putting some patients into an induced coma as part of attempts to save their lives; a normal but “frightening” strategy because of the risks involved.

But Ms Gowribalan said she was inspired by the Whittington’s history, adding: “On my way out I walk past an old building still standing in the grounds here. It reminds me that Whittington Hospital used to look after smallpox patients during the epidemic in the 1800s. It feels like a powerful reminder that we’ve survived this before, and we will get through it again.”


Share this story

Post a comment