• France's news in English

Paris hospitals looked like war zones: doctors

AFP · 15 Nov 2015, 20:48

Published: 15 Nov 2015 20:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"It felt like scenes from a war," said Philippe Juvin, head of emergency services at the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, describing the arrival of gunshot victims from the attacks which killed at least 129 people and injured over 350.

Those with serious injuries, about a third of those hurt, were immediately rushed to operating theatres or into intensive care, said Juvin, who has combat zone experience, including in Afghanistan.

The assailants' bullets ripped open stomachs, pierced thoraxes and caused blood haemorrhaging –injuries rarely seen outside areas of armed conflict.

The attackers used Kalashnikov assault rifles, typically loaded with 7.62-millimetre cartridges with coatings designed for maximum damage, doctors said.

"Most of the injured people had through-and-through bullet wounds, it was a horrible sight," said a surgeon at the Lariboisiere hospital who asked not to be named.

Eight of the hospital's twelve operating blocs were busy treating a terrifying number of broken jaws, cracked skulls, gouged-out eyes and smashed limbs.

"There was a feeling of great desolation," the surgeon said.

Doctors said they were struck by patients' deep state of shock "as if they had been drugged".

One 30-year old patient, who took a bullet in the liver, only asked "Is it serious?", one doctor recalled.

"It's as if they were petrified. They're not expressing any normal emotions," said Dominique Pateron, head of emergency services at the Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris.

One patient, with a serious bullet wound to the arm, seemed detached from both the events and his own injuries.

Story continues below…

"All he said was 'I don't know. I didn't see anything'," Pateron said.

A major challenge for doctors is to divide patients up between the French capital's hospitals "to give them the greatest survival chance", said Didier Journois, head of Georges Pompidou's intensive anaesthetist unit.

Most of the attack victims will suffer after-effects, some for a long time to come, and many will have to undergo multiple surgeries, doctors predicted.

They cited the case of Philippe Lancon, a survivor of the Charlie Hebdo attack, who has had 13 operations for his fractured jaw since the January shooting.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

French claims that Jungle camp is empty are rubbished
Photo: AFP

Reports from the scene say scores of migrants are still in the area of the Jungle despite French authorities claiming "mission fulfilled."

Kidnapped Riviera millionaire left tied up in car boot in Nice
Photo: AFP

Head of luxury Cannes hotel has been found alive after being kidnapped in Nice on Monday.

Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Photo: Panoramas/Flickr

... and it's tenants in the smaller apartments that get hit the hardest. Could you be paying too much?

France takes baby steps to make life simpler
Photo: AFP

... including extending the ridiculously short time limit for registering a new baby.

IN PICTURES: Calais Jungle camp goes up in flames
All Photos: AFP

Migrants leave behind a scorched camp as they are moved to locations across France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available