An N1 TV crew went into the red zone of a COVID hospital in Belgrade and produced a documentary titled Huger for Air which shows what the intensive care unit was like during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Serbia.
Reporter Jelena Zoric, who went to the hospital with videographers Denijal Dabic and Marko Tikvaroski, said they saw some things at the hospital which could not be aired on television. This was Zoric’s third report from the red zone of a COVID hospital. Zoric said the title of the documentary was taken from what an anesthesiologist said when asked what the worst moment was. Her answer: watching them hunger for air.
She said the conditions the N1 crew faced at the Bezanijska Kosa hospital were harder than at the Zvezdara and Zemun COVID hospitals because they wore full protective gear from head to toe in high heat making them all sweat profusely. According to Zoric, the hospital is not air conditioned because of the danger of transmitting the coronavirus to staff who are not in full protective suits.
Zoric said that they saw things not fit to be aired on the first day, adding that intubation is the worst moment because that is when doctors start losing their patient who oxygen saturation level drops. “They rush up to a bed and at that moment their concentration is at a maximum. They forget the heat and the battle sometimes last for seconds, sometimes for hours. When the patient is stable they calm down, keep quiet and don’t want to talk,” she said.
“A chill goes through you,” Zoric said and added that she was moved when she realized how difficult it was for the doctor in charge of the hospital to speak about what was happening.
Zoric met doctors who were infected who told her that they were scared by the fact they realized how little they know about the coronavirus. “They’re afraid when they realize they are showing symptoms but until they feel those symptoms they do their 100 percent best. They don’t allow themselves the luxury of thinking about getting sick. They are in almost combat conditions,” she said.
She said she went to the hospital to record people risking their lives to save others, adding that “it would be shameful for reporters to say that we are afraid”.
Zoric credited her videographers for the work they did recalling that they had to work their cameras with two pairs of gloves. “Whatever idea I have can’t be realized without them but it can without me,” she said.