Coronavirus: “it will be no tsunami, but the bathtub will overflow” Professor Adnet says

Published by Laurent P. · Published on 10 October 2020 at 17h41
Hospitals are bracing themselves as a new wave of coronavirus cases is coming… In an interview with Ouest France, professor Frédéric Adnet – head of the emergency unit at the Avicenne hospital and medical head of the Samu de Seine-Saint-Denis – returned on the current health situation and on the fears of seeing hospitals – already under pressure – be overwhelmed.

Are hospitals ready to face a new coronavirus contamination wave? A question tormenting many caregivers as cases keep on growing in health facilities over France. A situation on which professor Frédéric Adnet – head of the emergency unit at the hôpital Avicenne and medical head of the Samu de Seine-Saint-Denis – returned with Ouest France.

Second coronavirus wave, managing under pressure, one day at a time

Here is an assessment first: “material means are here, but caregivers are exhausted. We lack backups” it reads. Professor Adnet is concerned about the means and the evolution of the health situation: “It could be worse and it is a genuine paradox. We experienced a tsunami in spring. Today, the bathtub is filled progressively” he explains, adding: “we manage growing flows of Covid patients in addition to usual patients. Doubling time is of fifteen days. It may sound modest, but it is non-stop. We know the bathtub will overflow and we will be highly struggling”.

At the hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny, they are close to being clogged up: “We’re at 50% of Covid beds and 50% of non-Covid beds. If we stick to the same trend, we will be clogged up on October 27” the professor adds. He compares today’s situation with March’s: “At the height of the crisis, we have been close to perform war medicine. […] We could no longer cure patients. We were at 100% Covid, without any margin” he recalls. He goes on: “Two days earlier, in late March, and we would have had to start making terrible choices, like our Italian colleagues did” before adding “so far, we forbid ourselves from cancelling other patients. But we would have to”. He concludes: “We know we won’t have backups from provinces, we won’t be able to transfer patients to other regions”.

Exhausted caregivers

Professor Adnet also addressed the state of the hospital and caregivers – already mistreated during the crisis and who are now exhausted. “The hospital staff is tired and not very motivated” he explains to Ouest France. He goes on: “There is no longer the adrenaline from the first wave. Removing “super-hero” attires has been hard, no one wants to put it back on”. He concludes “Many of them feel they are not ready to face a second resurgence of the epidemic”.

The exhaustion is mostly caused by the lack of staff: “We have enough material, but lack trained staffFrédéric Adnet says. According to him, summer would have been a great time to anticipate: “We should have recruited 3rd-year nurses and train them super quickly, in two month-time”. He adds: “Macron said he will massively invest in public hospitals. At the end of the day, the Ségur de la Santé is only a half-full glass. We would have needed a hospital Marshall plan, with a genuine moratorium as for closing beds, opening ICU and a true raise for caregivers”.

Caregivers are far from being able to have a break as Olivier Véran has announced they might be urged to give up on their days off on All Saints Vacations… A measure on a voluntary basis.

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