France: Doctors warn about the specter of “sorting patients”

Posted29 mars 2021, 15:01

In two different forums, hospital specialists are alarmed by the contamination incidence rate and demand a new turn of the sanitary screw.


Five months after the entry into force of a new confinement, from which some sectors have never come out, the third wave of coronavirus once again puts France up against the wall, between the specter of sorting out patients in hospital and interminable health restrictions that risk increasing.

Two days before a decisive health defense council around President Emmanuel Macron, the indicators of the circulation of the virus, driven by the so-called English variant, considered more contagious and more virulent, do not yet show the expected calm.

And the government is facing pressure from doctors demanding a new turn of the sanitary screw, which raises the question of stricter containment.

According to the latest data from Public Health France, 57 departments out of 101 have an incidence rate above the maximum alert threshold (250) of the health authorities, against 42 five days earlier, and only March 23 to 10.

Last week, more than 2,000 deaths of Covid patients were still recorded in hospitals or in specialized establishments for the elderly, despite the vaccination campaign (7.7 million first doses injected, 2.6 million second doses).

“Terrible choices”

The epidemic outbreak – between 40,000 to 50,000 patients tested positive every day last week – does not augur an immediate drop in hospital admissions, at a time when the number of patients treated in intensive care (4,872 ) is about to pass the peak of the second fall wave (4903 on November 16).

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In two separate forums in the press, hospital doctors gave voice to alert on the specter of “sorting patients” at the door of the sheaves.

“By forcing caregivers to decide which patient should live and which patient should die, without clearly displaying it, the government is hypocritically relinquishing responsibility,” denounced one of the signatory collectives.

“Terrible choices for caregivers” that the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, assured them he wanted to avoid them, during an interview on Sunday evening, with these crisis medical directors, his entourage reported to AFP.

“The Minister recalled that it was necessary to verify what the measures already in place had as an impact on the sheave, and that if this impact was deemed insufficient to get through the difficult course of the next three weeks, the government would have to take quickly additional measures, ”the same source explained.

Thursday evening, Olivier Véran had announced that 80% of operations deprogramming would be “undoubtedly” necessary in the hospitals of Île-de-France, in order to increase the resuscitation capacities to 2250 beds, that is to say the double that in time. normal.


At the peak of the first wave of spring 2020, the number of patients in sheaves had risen even higher in France, to around 7,000, but doctors argue that this time, patient transfers to other regions are more difficult, especially in the face of family refusal.

Despite calls to tighten the screws, the majority defends the strategy of the executive, that of containment as a very last resort. “The decisions taken which make it possible to curb the spread of the virus are those which are relevant from a health point of view and acceptable in view of the restrictions that the French have accepted to respect for a year already”, summed up the deputy president on Public Senate of the group of the ruling LREM party in the National Assembly, Aurore Bergé.

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Health restrictions in France are already heavy. Restaurants, bars, sports halls and cultural places (theaters, museums, cinemas) have never reopened since the start of the second confinement and a curfew, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., is in place throughout the territory. In 19 departments, including the entire Paris region, travel is limited to 10 km without exemption.

Open schools

Unlike many of its European neighbors, France has not closed its schools even if the appearance of a patient in a class now leads to its closure in the reconfigured departments.

For Emmanuel Macron, “the complete closure of schools cannot be taboo, but it must remain a last resort and a measure limited to the maximum in time”.

Since the start of the epidemic more than a year ago, more than 94,600 have died in France from Covid.


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