Frontline: Inside Italy’s COVID War examines life-and-death choices at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the hiss of oxygen masks, ER doctor Francesca Mangiatordi is making phone call after phone call.

The emergency room at Cremona Hospital, where she works, is facing a crush of people showing up with probable COVID-19. They’re feverish and struggling to breathe, their lung function revealed to be dramatically diminished in CT scans. Many of them, both old and young, need to be admitted.

But even though every single unit at the hospital is now being used to treat COVID patients, there still aren’t enough beds. So, in a chilling horror that’s become routine, Dr. Mangiatordi is having to prioritize admitting the young patients over the old. And in what is now a regular ritual, she’s phoning around to each hospital ward in search of an opening.

Over and over again, she asks, “Can you tell me if you have any beds, please? Nothing? Thanks.”

She pauses only to curse under her breath.

Read more and watch the video at PBS.