“Six patients in“ sheaves ”in the same room, I think that shows the gravity of the situation. ” At the Mayotte hospital center, we no longer operate, except in a vital emergency, we no longer have a recovery room. And patients with Covid-19 are everywhere. “What surprised us was the violence of the wave. A month ago, I had no Covid patient in my department, a month later, we are constantly on the verge of rupture and we do not know how long it will last “, worries Doctor Renaud Blondé, the head of the intensive care unit, pointing to the responsibility of the South African variant, more contagious, and present in 90% of patients on the island.

So, faced with this explosion of cases, the only hospital in the territory, with only 16 intensive care beds for 400,000 inhabitants, is getting organized as best it can. We push the walls, we deprogram all the other interventions and thanks to the support of the health service of the armies as of the health reserve – nearly a hundred personnel and their material -, 16 additional resuscitation beds were put into service. . “Without them, I don’t know how we would do it, it would be really shit”, lets go the doctor. They are the soldiers and voluntary caregivers, but they are also “Colleagues from La Réunion”. The island, which receives four patients from Mayotte every day with a plane intended for medical evacuations.

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A crisis organization that allows the service of Doctor Blondé to appear “In the middle of the chain”. “If we were at the end, it would be impossible to manage. It would be a slaughter ”, he warns. At the start of the chain, it is therefore the medical service and its dozens of emergency beds that are the first to suffer from the influx of patients. And keep them until the last minute. “At the start, we set the threshold for entering“ sheave ”at 6 liters per minute of oxygen supplied to the patient. But there were so many patients that we had to increase the criteria to 12 liters. Unfortunately, we take them at the last moment, in medicine we have a lot of patients who should be in “shifts”… It is sometimes limited for transfers but we have no choice, we do not have enough space. “

The beds are filled “just in time”

In the intermediate links, the resuscitation of Doctor Blondé. Normally versatile, “Which is not done anywhere else in France where“ sheaves ”are specialized”, here it is “embolized” by patients with Covid-19. And in an attempt to keep a few beds available for other patients, the army health service, its 53 soldiers including seven doctors, independently manages 10 resuscitation beds dedicated solely to the coronavirus. Despite everything, these 32 beds are filling up “Just in time”, and the only possible evacuation is 1,800 kilometers away in the Indian Ocean. “It’s been eight hours door to door, it’s very risky for patients but we have no choice”, explains Doctor Blondé.

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