“Holidays? I can’t take any, I have to plug the holes so that the others can leave”: Dr. Florian Bernas may well emphasize that his department is experiencing “no shortage of staff” and that for the guards of this summer “the grid is filled”, he does not hide the price.
“Everyone does a little overtime, but nobody really has to crack. If we have the slightest work stoppage, I don’t know how we’ll do it,” said the 41-year-old doctor, head of emergencies. of Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine), which received an average of 60 patients per day before the Covid.
But “right now, it’s more like 70”, since the Foch hospital in Suresnes, four kilometers to the north, stopped accepting “lying patients” in early June. A “shedding” of serious cases, forced by the departure of several practitioners, which affects neighboring establishments.
Except that many are also in a precarious situation. The recent “untimely closures” of Versailles and Poissy (Yvelines) do not facilitate the task of Dr. Bernas. “The problem is to collect the peaks. Above 90 per day, people are not seen, they leave before,” he says.
To admit patients to its cramped premises, without leaving a stretcher lying around in the corridors, the eight consultation boxes are often “split” with screens. So much for privacy. Other rooms house patients who should no longer stay in the emergency room, for lack of places “on the floors”.
The management of the hospital recognizes this: “Usually, we did not close beds in the summer”, but this year “we have fewer solutions”. In Saint-Cloud, “comprehensive medicine had to close beds”. In Sèvres, geriatrics reduced the airfoil by half. No other choice, because “we must take into account the exhaustion of staff and give them their leave”.
– “Quickly to saturation” –
Meanwhile, in the short-term hospitalization unit attached to the emergency room, “it’s full”, notes the young nurse Ophélie Leroy, 23, who begins her morning rounds this Wednesday. On the program, “a bit of everything”: cardiac decompensation, respiratory distress, epileptic seizure, drug-induced hepatitis, fall at home…
After two years of this regime, she is about to leave in October. “For a move”, she specifies, “but I need to change”. Quite the opposite of her colleague Léa Couasnon, 31, who “likes when things move” and is “very well in the emergency room”, where she usually works at night – 13 per month – to better take care of her 5 year old son.
“When I’m day, I have no family life”, explains this former caregiver, who nevertheless accumulates overtime – “more than 300” last year – even if it means seeing her “little one less “. Three weeks of leave stretch out her arms, but “it is possible that I will be called in August to take care”, she predicts. Of course, “it’s not mandatory, but we think of the other girls, we can’t leave them like that”.
An essential solidarity, because in this small service, “we quickly reach saturation”, notes Florence Tougne, 27, also a nurse. Positioned at the reception, she is in charge of carrying out the first sorting between the real emergencies and the rest.
“Some come with a diagnosis in mind, or think it will be faster to have an MRI,” she says. Sometimes the hospital is also the only recourse: “During the bridge of July 14, people did not have their doctor, so they came because they could not find any other solution”.
Fortunately, the paramedic workforce is almost complete. “I’m very lucky,” breathes health executive Stéphanie Dubus, 38, who also has “no holes” in her schedules “until September”.
But nothing is certain, “we must stay the course” despite the setbacks of neighboring hospitals, she adds. “Next, it’s collapsing. We have to try to prepare for everything”.