'I want people to see how dedicated my colleagues are' says Preston critical care consultant appearing on ITV Covid documentary
A consultant from Royal Preston Hospital is set to appear on an ITV documentary tonight, March 16, that takes viewers inside the critical care wards during the first wave of Covid-19.
Dr Shondipon Laha, a consultant in critical care consultant in medicine and anaesthesia will take us through his days working on the critical care ward at Royal Preston Hospital in the pandemic on tonight's show.
Filming by camera crews and daily video diaries by staff will give viewers an insight into what working on the frontline was like during the first wave of the virus in May last year at the Sharoe Green Lane hospital.
'2020: The Story of Us' tells the story of coronavirus in the UK through the experiences of people immersed in its impact, both personally and professionally, including hospital workers and their patients.
Speaking to the Post ahead of the programme, Dr Laha, who has worked at the trust for 14 years, said: "Camera crews filmed us over the course of a few days and followed several patients throughout their journey and followed me in treating them and caring for them.
"I kept video diaries which showed how I was coping and what I had to deal with, which have been used in the programme. It is a story of what really went on and shows the emotional and personal side of how this pandemic has really affected people.
"Filming myself was quite cathartic because most of it is just me talking and giving my thoughts on what was going on around me. It was a way for me to be honest and debrief myself and was a really fascinating experience."
In the 90-minute documentary, directed by Oscar award-winning director Kevin Macdonald, viewers will be taken into the critical care wards at Royal Preston Hospital and London's Whittington Hospital, closely following patients and their treatments.
According to ITV, the film begins before the pandemic became a worldwide medical emergency and "stretches through full lockdown into the peak of the crisis and beyond."
At the peak of the pandemic, Dr Shondipon spoke of how staff were battling strenuous hours and were 'dislocated' from what was going on in the outside world.
He added that he wanted people to watch the documentary and "see how dedicated my colleagues are".
In the programme, he is seen treating a patient called David, a paramedic in Blackpool who now found himself in the same situation as many of the patients he has brought into hospital during the crisis.
The consultant, who is also President of the Intensive Care Society, said: "Before the pandemic, the society was looking at ways that we could increase our visibility and our exposure as we celebrated our 50th anniversary.
"The past year has been incredibly stressful. We have provided safe care for every patient and that was our main mission. Every day we would go in and make sure that every person was cared for.
"That meant we had to stretch ourselves and our staff when the workforce was already much smaller than normal. Providing that care has had major repercussions as we have had to deal with things we had never done before, such as having an end of life discussion over the phone with families and feeling cut off from the outside world.
"What I want people to take away from the programme is how much my colleagues care about their jobs and the patients. You will see doctors and nurses dragged across departments and sacrificing their own personal lives to help those they were protecting."
The programme is available to watch tonight at 9 pm on ITV or rewatch online at ITV Hub.
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