Tuesday, April 20

How can France increase the capacity of the hospital ICU to 10,000 beds?

On Wednesday, Macron outlined plans for an “extraordinary mobilization” of the health sector in the coming days.

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of hospital intensive care beds has risen to 7,665 beds from its usual base of 5,000. Of these, 7,053 are now occupied, 5,109 by Covid patients, according to Covid Tracker.

Health Minister Olivier Véran said the number of patients in intensive care could reach a maximum of 10,000 by the end of April. By comparison, at the peak of the health crisis last spring, on April 8, 7,148 people were being treated in intensive care units in France.

During the second wave, intensive care patients peaked at 4,919 on Nov. 16.

Health problems

Increasing the number of beds to cope with the rise in Covid infections comes at the expense of non-Covid patients in need of medical help, several senior doctors have said.

“Theoretically it is feasible, but to achieve it concretely it would take at least three weeks or a month,” said Alain Ducardonnet, doctor and health consultant for the French television channel. BFM.

Bruno Mégarbane, head of the intensive care unit at the Lariboisière Hospital in Paris, told the French news channel LCI: “It can be achieved by transforming recovery rooms, operating rooms or other sectors of medicine into new temporary intensive care beds.”

The problem is not finding the beds.

Mégarbane explained the cost of staffing: “Doctors, nurses and anesthetists should be redirected from the operating rooms to these new beds.”

An estimated 40 percent of non-Covid surgeries have already been postponed to allow treatment of the number of patients with the virus. The Health Minister said last week that the goal was to increase this number to 80 percent in the Paris, Île-de-France region, where hospitals are struggling to cope.

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Thierry Amouroux, spokesperson for the National Union of Nursing Professionals and a nurse at the Saint-Louis hospital in Paris, described the domino effect.

“When you postpone 5 percent of operations, it’s just cosmetic surgery [that gets cancelled], but at 40 percent, it starts to get serious, and when the [regional health authority] publishes a deprogramming goal of 80 percent, touches oncology (cancer treatment), “he told the French newspaper. The parisian.

Staffing and training

Mégarbane said that, in addition to the current staff, the health system in France would have to mobilize its health reserve, a list of 26,000 retired doctors, military doctors and students at the end of their studies in order to serve the number of people. requiring the level of treatment and follow-up that intensive care implies

But then there is the question of training. Intensive care is highly specialized.

“In normal times, we can take less skilled people and supervise them. We can’t here, everyone is at the limit of what they can do, ”Nicolas Bruder, head of the intensive care unit at La Timone hospital in Marseille, told BFM TV.

“So we need fully trained people starting tomorrow and we don’t have them.”

Jean-Daniel Lelièvre, head of infectious diseases at Mondor hospital in Créteil said The parisian: “It seems completely unreal. We have the equipment and the physical space in the hospitals, but what will be lacking is the personnel.

“The president seems to say that we will find reinforcements, but will he learn resuscitation himself in two weeks? It is not my habit to criticize, but you should not announce anything.

“Going to 10,000 beds is a third more than last year’s peak. We don’t know how we did it [then] and today the staff is exhausted, while patients with other illnesses are in a much more serious condition due to interruptions in care. “

Others have been much more direct. These Nancy CHU doctors demonstrated their professional opinion on Macron’s statement in a tweet:

“We obey our president:

– we make the effort

– we move the walls to accommodate 10,000 ICU beds “


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