Coronavirus: ‘We’re here to work and to fight’ – final words of Italian doctor who died on the front line

At least 66 medical workers have died in Italy as the country battles to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

Italian health staff are on the front line of the fight in the country with the most recorded COVID-19 deaths in the world.

Since the outbreak began earlier this year more than 11,500 Italians have lost their lives.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed.

A national doctors’ association, Federazione Nazionale degli Ordini dei Medici Chirurghi e degli Odontoiatri (FNOMCeO), has been recording the number of health workers to die while trying to save the lives of coronavirus patients.

Their data suggests at least 66 medical staff have lost their lives in the process of getting treatment to patients across Italy.

The first to die was Roberto Stella, aged 67, on 11 March.

A colleague and friend has said his last words were: “We’re here to work and to fight.”

Speaking before he fell ill, he told another: “We have run out of masks. But we don’t stop. Let’s be careful and go on.”

Hailed as a hero, he left behind a family including a 24-year-old son who is currently studying to be doctor. In his tribute, he told the Italian press he had dreamt of making his father proud when he eventually graduated.

Saverio Chiaravalle, vice-president of the Varese doctor’s order, told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: “He died a hero, like other colleagues who have died in recent days.”

Dr Stella was from near Bergamo, one of the hardest hit regions of the country.

When Sky News went to the main hospital in Bergamo, one doctor us: “I have never felt so stressed in my life, I’m an intensivist, and I am quite used to intense moments… But when you are at this point you realise that you are not enough.”

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