Nantes: in the face of overwhelmed pediatric emergencies and six-hour waiting times, paediatricians mobilize – archyde

Overwhelmed, the emergency department in Nantes recently launched an appeal to the population to better regulate the treatment of patients and treat the most vital cases. The findings are the same for children: child emergencies at the Nantes University Hospital have been crumbling under demand for several weeks. Five to six hours: this is the waiting time of a few days for people who, except for vital emergencies, come to the pediatric department of the Nantes University Hospital.

“There’s a traffic jam in the emergency room. The risk is not taking care of the children who really need them, ”repeats Christèle Gras-Le Guen, Head of Pediatrics at Nantes Hospital and President of the French Society of Pediatrics. Currently, only 20% of the children seen in the emergency room are hospitalized. The rest could have done without an emergency room.

“Lots of babies who are all sick at the same time”

So why such overcrowding in pediatric emergencies? On the one hand because of the winter epidemics, which are more intense this year. Especially bronchiolitis, which “occurs earlier and more intensely”. After the various lockdowns in 2020 and health restrictions, many children were not exposed to the viruses. “You barely had bronchiolitis with the restrictions and barrier gestures. Obviously, this year those who did not get infected got these viruses. We end up having a lot of babies who are all sick at the same time. This is called immune deficiency, ”explains Dr. Cécile Guiheneuf.

“And the Covid upset everyone a bit. With parents who draw at the first symptoms ”. Together with the Association of Pediatricians of the Nantes Region, she has therefore decided, with around fifteen specialists, to set up permanent work at the weekend to alleviate the pediatric emergencies at the Nantes University Hospital. A unique number has been available for a week (0.222.444.050). A novelty in Nantes for parents who want to make an appointment at the weekend if necessary.

Christèle Gras-Le Guen, General Secretary of the French Society of Pediatrics, Head of the Pediatric Department at Nantes University Hospital. – F. Brenon / 20 minutes

Beds closed for the slightest absence

This is why these paediatricians organize on-call duty on Saturdays from 12 noon to 8 p.m. and on Sundays and public holidays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They receive patients in their practices without exceeding the fees. An additional cog in a profession that was taken by storm by patients at the beginning of winter. “Especially since the teams are tired and we can no longer recruit. Recently, a nurse couldn’t come and finish her day and we had to close six of the 120 beds available in Pediatrics in the Nantes emergency room.

Hence the additional help from liberal paediatricians. “We are in the process of protecting the hospital. It is also necessary that people develop good therapeutic habits, “and especially that they not necessarily go straight to the emergency room. This is because pediatric emergencies should be reserved for severe cases, especially for babies under three months of age. If necessary, there are other solutions: family doctor, SOS doctor, on-call duty or 15.

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