The image is freezing. “I saw a refrigerated truck parked outside the hospital on Wednesday. He is there to be able to store the corpses, in case the institution's morgue no longer has enough space to accommodate them. Let us hope that this will not be necessary, loose, on condition of anonymity, a hospital practitioner working in Ile-de-France. “When a person dies, the family has only a few minutes to see the body. We just ask him what suit the deceased should wear, and we tell them to leave. It's very hard, ”he adds, distraught.
This terrible tale recalls those of the undertakers overwhelmed during the heat wave of 2003 and sums up by itself the situation which the Ile-de-France, after the Grand-Est region, must now face in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic . The "wave" is coming. No one can predict the height, but it could be terrible. "The situation is already critical, warned Wednesday March 25 in the morning on France Info Martin Hirsch, the boss of the AP-HP (Public Assistance - Hospitals of Paris), huge ship of 39 establishments in Ile-de-France. He mentioned the "superhuman" effort of the staff.
"Courage, hold on"
The serious tone, Jérôme Salomon, the Director General of Health, spoke in the evening of a "rapid aggravation" at the national level. "The next few days are going to be particularly difficult," he warned. "There will be dramas". He mentions “2827 serious cases, in intensive care, which is exceptional. A third of them are under 60 ”. And the Paris region, which alone has a thousand people hospitalized in intensive care, is now the most exposed in number of cases. “I can't find a place in a sheave for a patient in his 50s only. The entire south of the Paris region is saturated, ”says another practitioner, in a worried voice.
Doctors in Ile-de-France, however, were able to benefit from the precious testimonies of their colleagues in the Grand Est region, overwhelmed by the epidemic wave before them. “The Paris region was able to learn thanks to us, and that's great. There was a lot of contact between the medical teams, a lot of dialogue ”, underlines Jean Rottner, president (LR) of the Grand-Est region, who is also an emergency doctor in Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin). Before launching to his colleagues: “Courage, hold on! It's not going to be easy… ”
No way, swear the caregivers, to admit being beaten. “Even if it has 11 million inhabitants, the Paris region has a very large supply of care, in terms of teaching hospitals and teaching hospitals. We have room to meet the needs of the population, ”explains Dr Agnès Ricard-Hibon, president of the French society of emergency medicine. “And if necessary, interregional mutual assistance is organized. We have already sent the first patients from Ile-de-France to the Rouen University Hospital. Others may follow, ”she adds.
"And we are not yet at the peak"
Rémi Salomon, senior official of the AP-HP, of which he chairs the establishment medical committee, is categorical: "The number of patients continues to increase and we are not at the peak of the epidemic", breaths this doctor . “I will be clear and direct: we still have room in our hospitals, but with very short-term visibility. We need to open more beds, but for that we need carers. ”
Professor Salomon calls on students in medical or nursing school, retirees, but also to doctors in the pharmaceutical industry with which he had contact this Wednesday morning. Its objective: to prevent the situation in Ile-de-France from going from “complicated to critical”, as in northern Italy, where all patients can no longer be taken care of.
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Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of the infectious diseases department at the Mondor hospital, in Créteil (Val-de-Marne) abounds: “How can you imagine that a patient does not have access to the sheave? It's intolerable. To avoid the worst, and to help us, the French must stay at home and respect confinement, as strictly as possible ”. Faced with danger, they call to keep a cool head. "We're going to get out of it, but it's going to be very hard. For that, let's stay united, ”concludes the emergency physician Patrick Pelloux.