A doctor has claimed medics are being forced to make "horrifying" choices in hospitals overwhelmed by coronavirus because there are not enough ventilators – and predicts even more cases by February.
Dr Megan Smith, of Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital Trust in London, told ITN she thinks doctors are having to deal with "emotional trauma" as they decide which patients get a potentially life-saving ventilator.
Speaking in a video call, she said: "It's not a position that any of us want to be in and we're used to making difficult decisions as doctors, but deciding the outcome of, effectively, a competition for a ventilator is just not what anyone signed up for.
"And in terms of the emotional trauma to those individuals, it's horrifying.
"We shouldn’t be having to do it but we are."
Even worse, she predicts cases will spike later in January and in February due to a "relaxation of the rules around Christmas" and people "just not necessarily observing the rules" as well.
Dr Megan said: "The patients that we’re seeing now, and we’re already higher than the peak we had in March and April, were infected two or three weeks ago."
She predicts a massive influx of Covid patients in "two or three weeks".
"I think January and February are going to be the most difficult and most awful months most healthcare workers will have faced ever in their careers," she said.
This comes as a leading government adviser warned the UK will have a shortage of coronavirus vaccines for several months.
Professor Christ Whitty said: "Vaccine shortage is a reality that cannot be wished away."
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