This is the moment the dead body of a COVID-19 patient is dragged down a staircase in a Venezuelan hospital where the lift has been broken for weeks, forcing medical staff to break with protocols when moving COVID-19 infected bodies to the morgue.
On top of the broken lift, the hospital is reportedly suffering extreme shortages with staff unable to access even basic personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitisers and even clean running water.
The organisation Monitor Salud Venezuela which monitors the Venezuelan health system reports that this is just one of many similar incidents that have been occurring at the Maracaibo University Hospital located in the Northern Venezuelan state of Zulia.
In the footage, a patient who reportedly died after being infected with COVID-19 is clumsily dragged down a staircase by hospital staff and family members.
Local news outlet La Verdad reports that medical staff and family members were transferring the body to a morgue and resorted to dragging it down the stairs after the lift broke.
Monitor Salud said: “the biosecurity measures are not being complied with, the staff are subjected to dealing with patients without the appropriate personal protective equipment. “
In the footage at least one of the staff members can be seen handling the body without the use of protective gloves.
A group of staff from the hospital told La Verdad: “This is how we are forced to work, dragging dead COVID-19 patients down the stairs because the lift is broken.”
They added: “They force us to work overtime without the correct protective equipment. We don’t have clean water to wash our hand with let alone hand sanitising gel. When we complain they tell us we can leave.”
The staff concluded their message to La Verdad saying that they want to work and save people’s lives but they have spent weeks dragging dead bodies down staircases without protective equipment without receiving any support from the government.
The pandemic has decimated the South American country’s fragile healthcare system with widespread reports of protective equipment shortage, understaffed hospitals and a slow vaccine rollout.
South American news outlet Infobae reports that April was the most deadly month on record for Venezuelan health workers with 103 COVID-19 related deaths.