Covid-19: in the emergency room in Toulon, “we treat people for what they have, not for what they are”

By Chloé Hecketsweiler

Posted today at 04:30

On the soundtrack of the call to the SAMU, too exhausted and breathless, Roland lets go only a few words in response to the questions of the doctor who took the call, this Thursday, January 6. The first symptoms of Covid-19 appeared the day after New Year’s Eve, and within days the virus knocked him down. Arrived by ambulance in the morning, he is lying in one of the emergency boxes of the Sainte-Musse hospital in Toulon, a bright and uncluttered room, like the building, inaugurated in 2011.

In black jogging, his slippers still on his feet, a gold chain with an Africa pendant around his neck, this 78-year-old retiree, who once supervised teams of divers around the world, fell through the cracks of vaccination. “I am a conspirator”he said, laughing out loud, his eyes mischievous behind his large glasses. “A European doctor who works in African countries knows how to treat certain diseases much better”, he continues more seriously, with reference to the Marseillais Didier Raoult.

Then his voice breaks. “Now, I make a statement … We are going to be vaccinated. Hope everything is going to be okay. I think it was taken on time ”, loose this father, who had refused any invitation to Christmas and New Year’s Day in order to protect himself. “But Macron, he must stop pitting the French against each other. Everyone has the right to be treated. Everyone has the right to make a mistake. He has to admit it, but he doesn’t admit it. It’s because of us, he said. But he has to stop ”, he implores, his voice tightened with a sob. He is not the only one to have been shocked by the little sentence of the President of the Republic: “The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off”. In the emergency department, doctors readily say it: “We treat people for what they have, not for what they are. “

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A member of the staff of the Sainte-Musse hospital disinfects a wheelchair, in Toulon (Bouches-du-Rhône), January 6, 2022.

The sentence may sound angelic, but of the 150 patients who present themselves on average each day, many have made “mistakes”, such as riding a bicycle without a helmet, driving too fast on the highway, forgetting to take your medication, or having to take medication. swallow too much. However, great efforts are made to collect them – sometimes by helicopter – and treat them. “Once here, the patients think about it”, underline Fanny Bardet, emergency physician, by carefully disinfecting her stethoscope, before rubbing her hands with hydroalcoholic gel. “At the prospect of spending eight days in an intensive care bed, some say to themselves: if I had known …”

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Covid-19: in the emergency room in Toulon, “we treat people for what they have, not for what they are”