“There is no longer a single place for resuscitation in 93”


Romain Dufau is the head of the emergency department at Jean-Verdier Hospital in Bondy, one of the three AP-HP establishments in Seine-Saint-Denis. He is concerned about the large influx of serious cases in this department where containment is not strictly enforced.

Why is the situation in Seine-Saint-Denis worrying?

The containment is more complex, and therefore the risk of contamination higher. It is not uncommon to see families of six in 45 square meter apartments. Very quickly, the youngest do not care anymore and find themselves outside.

Everyone who has an undeclared job is also obliged to travel to work and keep an income. The police probably close their eyes, otherwise it would explode.

Part of the population does not speak French very well. “Barrier gestures” or “social distancing” are not necessarily very telling. When I drive around Paris, I notice that the gap of one meter is well respected in the queues. But, at Bondy, it’s more difficult to stick to it: the population is denser and has no alternative, delivery services are not adventurous in the cities.

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The number of serious cases continues to increase in Ile-de-France. How do you anticipate the next few days?

A hundred patients are already hospitalized at our two sites, Jean-Verdier, in Bondy, and Avicenne, in Bobigny. In the emergency room, we intubate three to four patients a day, compared to one every three to four days in normal times. We cannot continue at this rate, because there is no longer a single resuscitation place available for our patients in the 93. Yesterday, we had to send a patient to Orleans, and others could be sent to Rouen.

Can you still “push the walls”?

We plan to open eight more beds at Avicenne and fourteen at Jean-Verdier, but we don’t have the team to turn them. We are in dire need of specialized nurses. In intensive care, patients must be monitored around the clock, and at least one nurse is needed for three patients. We are light years away from being able to recruit as many.

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“We are seeing a lot of young people, between 25 and 45 years old”

Are the other hospitals in Ile-de-France able to help you?

I have great fears. This is just the beginning of the wave, and the other hospitals are already answering us: “Oh there, I prefer to keep room for my emergencies. All hospitals will have to organize themselves without relying too much on their neighbors. Pediatric hospitals are however starting to mobilize: in Robert-Debre, twenty beds were opened on Tuesday to accommodate adults. We sent two patients there, but there are only two places left.

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