It was a low-level panic at first, but very quickly there were big changes taking place. Day by day, wards were being cleared to make way for Covid-positive patients. Things were getting worse by the day. For the first time in my nursing career, I felt scared.
As a palliative care nurse, it is Kelly Critcher’s job to look death in the eye – to save a patient while the fight can still be won, and confront life’s end with grace and kindness when it can’t.
In early 2020, everything changed for nurses on the NHS front line. Working on Covid wards and the High Dependency Unit, Kelly spent the height of the coronavirus crisis at Northwick Park hospital – perhaps the UK hospital most deeply ravaged by the illness.
She, and many others like her, battled tirelessly in a critical care unit pushed to breaking point, delivering the bad news and fighting the good fight, day-in, day-out, throughout the gravest test our health service has faced since its inception.
Kelly’s story weaves together her raw, emotional diaries from the COVID frontline with a broader reflection on the truths about a life spent caught between battling for her patients’ lives and helping them face down death with courage and compassion. Bringing together the enormity of the last twelve months – and the scars it will leave – this is a book for our times.