AN NHS doctor has revealed that she is "forced to play God" in the battle to save patients amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The anonymous doctor, based at a major London hospital, also described the strain that equipment shortages and a "never-ending" flow of new cases are now placing on medics.
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Writing in the Mail on Sunday, she spoke of the scene at the hospital as she arrived on Wednesday of this week.
"I arrive at 9am to find there has been a huge intake of Covid-19 patients," she said.
"It’s beginning to feel like a war zone. Reports of a nurse’s suicide elsewhere has further darkened the mood.
"I’ve lost count of the times my pager sounds. I feel like one of those elastic kids’ toys that can be endlessly stretched."
There are now almost 20,000 cases of the coronavirus in the UK, with the number expected to continue rising throughout the coming weeks.
There are fears the outbreak could see the NHS's surge capacity exceeded many times over and leave thousands who should be on intensive care wards unable to get the treatment they need.
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The doctor continued: "Now I am forced to play God. A sweet lady in her 80s is struggling to breathe with the CPAP machine.
"There is nothing I can do to help her – and because of her pre-existing conditions and age, she is simply not a candidate to take to intensive care.
"Sounds callous, doesn’t it? But there are 11 people elsewhere in desperate need of her mask."
She goes on to describe having to phone the woman's daughter and explain the hospital is going to be unable to stop her mother dying.
The government is currently attempting to source an addition 30,000 ventilators by scaling up production and importing some from overseas.
Companies including Airbus, Rolls Royce, and Ford have formed a consortium named Ventilator Challenge UK to help in the effort.
A project named NHS Nightingale has also been launched to open makeshift hospitals in venues around the country, with facilities already being constructed at London's ExCel Centre, Birmingham's NEC, and Manchester's Central Convention Complex.
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