Dr Ceri Hayles has had people accusing her of being paid to post the image and has been told it is fake
A doctor who shared a powerful account of her frustrations and pain at the reality of fighting coronavirus was trolled after it was chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge for her photographic exhibition.
The image of Dr Ceri Hayles is included in 100 photo portraits selected by the National Portrait Gallery for the ‘Hold Still’ project, an effort to create a collective portrait of the UK during lockdown.
Dr Hayles posed after removing her Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and looks exhausted, her face bearing the marks and indentations of wearing a mask and visor.
The caption of the picture said: “This is what broken looks like. This is operating for three hours in full PPE. This is dehydration. This is masks that make your ears bleed because the straps have slipped and you daren’t touch them.”
But Dr Hayles, who was working in Bridgend, but now works for the Royal Gwent in Newport, described the reaction to the picture as “varied”.
“There have been so many wonderful comments from people I had never met, through to patients who came forward to say I had looked after them,” she told BBC Radio Wales.
“There have been wonderfully positive comments, but there have been a few people who have said things along the lines of I had faked or and I had been paid money for it.
“It is mad that people think like that. I feel sorry for people who haven’t seen what we have seen, and therefore think, the only way that those images are made is through lights, cameras and make up.
“It is a very real situation that so many of us find ourselves in work and to have people question your integrity on a very public scale, is quite difficult to cope with. You think, if they don’t believe what is happening, how are they ever going to take any of these measures seriously to prevent us from being back there again?”
Speaking about a potential second wave, Dr Hayles said that it is “terrifying” that we could be going back to how things were six months ago.
“The stress levels that everyone in work endured. We would all do the same things again but it is not a welcome prospect,” she said. “Things have reached a bit of normality and we have reached the stage where we can do elective work for people who have been waiting months and months for their elective work to be done.
“To be able to see those patients again has been brilliant. It would be sad from patient point of view to stop doing that.
“The stress that we all went through was not something I would want to go through again. We were working a lot more hours, in a much more stressful conditions. We were struggling to provide care that we wanted to because you had to put all this kit on. Pausing for 30 seconds to put all the kit on can impact the outcome for them.”
Kate Middleton unveiled Ceri’s picture as one of the 100 that will be shown in her community photography project at the National Portrait Gallery called the Hold Still initiative.
During lockdown, the public were asked to submit their images which captured the period for a digital exhibition.
The caption with the Welsh doctor’s image, added: “This is fighting an invisible enemy that becomes more visible each day.
“This is a face I never thought I’d show the world, but one which I wear more and more.
“I took this photo to have as a reminder of how far I’d been capable of pushing myself when I needed to.
“I sent it to my family to tell them what a hard day it had been and they were all so shocked by it.
“The person they know as being so well put together, always wearing a smile, was not the person they saw that day.
“Looking back on it now, I feel immensely proud of the commitment shown by myself and my colleagues to provide safe care for patients, even in the depths of a pandemic.
“We still wear full PPE for all of our cases, and you never get used to it, but I know we’ll keep doing it for as long as it is needed.”
World news – GB – Doctor who posted ‘broken’ picture of her face told it’s fake by trolls