“Twenty-four hours with an empty Covid box, this had not happened to us for a long time”… One eye on the screen which monitors the vital functions of patients, Gautier Meurant breathes for a moment. With his colleagues from one of the four adult intensive care units of the Timone hospital in Marseille, the 26-year-old nurse has just completed a “Covid entry”. The patient, a sturdy 41-year-old fellow whose condition suddenly deteriorated, had until then been hospitalized a few hundred meters away, at Professor Raoult’s IHU. “Not vaccinated, very anxious that we could intubate him. Classic “, summarizes Gautier Meurant, while the ten boxes of the service are again full.
Since the end of July, the Bouches-du-Rhône, and Marseille in particular, have been among the territories most affected by the fourth wave of Covid-19. The department is the last in metropolitan France to see, at the beginning of October, its incidence rate drop below the bar of 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The promise of near appeasement for Marseille university hospitals (AP-HM), where, at the end of August, the number of Covid-19 patients peaked at 250, forcing the authorities to organize four medical evacuations to Reims (Marne) and Strasbourg.
In the various services of the AP-HM, the dedicated care units, opened over the rise in cases, close as they decline. But this Monday, October 4, 106 Covid-19 patients are still hospitalized, including twenty-seven in intensive care units in La Timone, where they occupy 38% of the beds. “We are experiencing a decline, recognizes Professor Lionel Velly, AP-HM resuscitation coordinator. Four entries per week is obviously easier to manage than four entries per day, but we always stay on the defensive. “
“A dystopian reality”
On the second floor of the hospital, in what was a multi-purpose intensive care unit before the pandemic, there are 10 patients, most of them hospitalized for more than a month and a half. “60 years, 56 days in sheave; 63 years, 57 days; 40 years, 89 days… ” Badge “Vaccinated! »On the back of his blouse, features drawn behind his FFP2 mask, Lionel Velly goes around the boxes and discusses the situations. Most of the sick are conscious, but extremely weak. “We only have one under Ecmo”, congratulates the professor. The Ecmo is this extracorporeal blood oxygenation machine that overcomes the deficiency of the lungs. “A month ago, they were everywhere”, remembers Gautier Meurant. Now they are waiting for a possible next wave, carefully stored in the service’s reserves.
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