Coronavirus: Vets lend equipment to breaking-point Paris hospitals

Coronavirus: Vets lend equipment to breaking-point Paris hospitals
Medics say Paris hospitals are at breaking point. Photo: AFP
Health authorities in the greater Paris region have called on local veterinary surgeons to donate life-saving equipment as hospitals struggle to cope with surging coronavirus cases.

The greater Paris Île-de-France region has the highest number of coronavirus cases in France, although some of these are cases that have been transferred to the specialist hospitals in the capital.

Health chiefs in the region warned at the end of last week that they were approaching the limits of their capacity and since then numbers of confirmed cases in France have continued to rise.

On Monday local health chiefs told French media that “the Ministry of Health has approached the Veterinary Medical Council to ask what kind of anaesthesia and resuscitation equipment veterinarians have in their facilities and to identify which ones they can make available.”

And veterinary hospitals from across the region have rushed to help, donating life-saving equipment including ventilators and monitoring devices.

French newspaper Le Parisien reported that 50 ventilators and 40 anaesthesia monoitoring devices have been loaned to hospitals by veterinary practices across the region.

On Friday The Local spoke to Célestin-Alexis Agbessi, a doctor at the Bichat Hospital in the 18th arrondissement in Paris, who said the hospital's 26 intensive care beds were all full.

READ ALSO ANALYSIS When will the coronavirus epidemic peak in France?

Over the weekend the total number of intensive care beds in the region was increased from 1,500 to 2,000 but Dr Agbessi said that would still not be enough.

“If the epidemic follows a growth pattern comparable to what we have seen in Italy and China, it's clear that we're only at the beginning,” he said.

Patients are also set to be transferred out of Paris to hospitals in Brittany, which has seen a lower number of cases.

Health authorities had already been airlifting some patients out of the badly-hit eastern areas of France, and have also comissioned special 'medical trains' to transfer people to facilities in other parts of the country.

But on Wednesday the first medical train from Île-de-France will leave for Brittany. 

READ ALSO Which areas of France are worst affected by coronavirus?

A military hospital has also been constructed in Mulhouse in eastern France to take some of the pressure off local hospitals.


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