A gallery of striking images showcasing some of the extraordinary work carried out by The James Cook University Hospital team during the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by photographer and teaching fellow Matthew Jones.
Taken inside the Middlesbrough hospital’s critical care department, the project documents the pressure, the challenges, the camaraderie and the kindness shown by this incredible team in the most difficult times.
Matthew said: “When I was working in South Sudan as a doctor in 2018 I found that photography was a powerful way to help me understand the experience as it unfolded at such speed. It gave a means to pause and reflect and find answers, and continues to do so even now.
“I wanted to offer that simple resource to staff in intensive care at James Cook, so they could process events and move forward with a sense of what they had achieved.
“The atmosphere in the intensive care unit was amazing. You sensed the strong bonds that existed between them all, a real spirit of care for each other’s welfare.
“I think the photos do a little justice to the stresses and pressure of the environment, but also the immense humanity on display as staff made such an effort to build bonds with the patients despite the obstacles they faced.
“To spend the time they did in personal protective equipment and in such heightened stress and emotion was an incredible effort, and to do with humour, good spirit and such team spirit even more so.”
Intensive care consultant Alex Scott has worked with Matthew to launch a website featuring many of the striking images. A selection of their favourites are also now on display in the hospital’s main atrium.
The centre piece of the Care in a Crisis project is a stunning photo montage called The Wall of Hidden Love – because if you look closely there’s a heart hidden in there.
Alex said: “Work took place by necessity behind closed doors, night and day, whilst wearing personal protective equipment in high heat and hard exertion, to deliver life-saving interventions to a group of patients on the edge between life and death.
“Through all this time conditions in the units were too dangerous for relatives to be admitted to visit their loved ones, so whilst performing the most technical and complex care this team gave the kindness needed to both the patients and their loved ones.
“This project stands in honour to all those staff who have committed their lives to caring, and had the courage to do so at personal risk in the worst crisis of modern times, and also in tribute to our patients.”
View more images at careinacrisis.org