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Are we ready for the next pandemic?

THE ESSENTIAL

  • The Covid-19 epidemic has killed 141,672 people in France.
  • Currently, more than 20,000 people are hospitalized because of covid-19, including 1,486 in intensive care.

They have been at the heart of the health crisis for two years. During the Secours Expo trade show, four emergency medicine specialists took stock of their extraordinary experiences and explained how they saw the future.

Adaptation

First observation, rather positive: the emergency services, initially helpless in the face of the arrival of Covid-19, quickly adapted to the situation. “When the virus landed, we went to get PPE masks and oxygen bottles from pool builders, we had to be inventive”, recalls Stéphane Voisin, vice-president of the French Federation of Rescue and First Aid (FFSS). “At the start of the crisis, we were afraid, the communication was not good. The only information came from our Italian colleagues. We put plastic bags and garbage bags to protect ourselves”, also remembers Dr Eric Revue, vice-president of the European Society of Emergency Medicine (EUSEM).

But, in France, “Emergency medicine held up. We realized that we had the agility to adapt and we did things that I never thought we would be able to do”, welcomes Dr Agnès Ricard-Hibon, head of the SAMU-SMUR-SAU 95 department. the use of teleconsultation. “Crisis cells were also created in record time within the APHP”, adds Eric Revue.

Second observation, this time very negative: the development of the anti-vaccine movement has considerably blurred the messages that the emergency physicians wanted to convey to the French.“Antivax have ruined our lives. We weren’t listened to, people no longer had confidence in science” laments Eric Revue, very upset. “At the start of the crisis, I was not convinced that it was necessary to go on television sets to answer questions from journalists. But faced with people who were conveying false information, I understood the importance of not carrying out a empty chair policy, and I regularly visited the news channels after my hospital hours”says Agnès Ricard-Hibon.

Towards the future

After taking stock of two years of health crisis, emergency physicians turned to the future: are we ready to face a new pandemic? “Yes and no”, replies Agnès Ricard-Hibon. “Yes, because we have developed very good coping skills. And no, because we are currently witnessing the great return of the “abnormality of before”. The involuntary mistreatment of patients and administrative constraints are responsible massive departures of caregivers to other professions”, analyzes the doctor.

“25% of qualified paramedics are lacking in our services”confirms Stéphane Graton, paramedic and CEO of his medical transport company. “Our profession no longer attracts because we no longer give it meaning, a phenomenon that the Covid-19 epidemic has amplified. We have also been forgotten by the Ségur de la santé. So concerning the next health crisis, yes, we will answer it, but I don’t know how”, worries the healthcare professional.

While the cases of Covid-19 are on the rise again, everyone is pleading for the launch of a major national assessment of this complicated period.

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