This weekend, the newspaper Le Soir withdrew a report from its site after virulent comments from anti-vaccines. The article addressed the discomfort of the intensive care staff compared to the unvaccinated. However, the exhaustion of caregivers is very real after more than a year of health crisis. Those who hoped to breathe thanks to vaccination see their hope shattered. Unvaccinated patients still occupy their departments.
At Chirec, Marine De Raeymaeker, intensive care nurse, recounts the ritual that precedes entry into intensive care: putting on protective clothing, wearing a mask, gloves. And then, at the exit, free yourself from it. And start over again, several times a day. A cumbersome and restrictive procedure that has not left them.
“I’m hot, I sweat from doing and doing this 8 hours a day … We lose pounds!” smiles the nurse. This afternoon, she and 5 colleagues will take care of an unconscious 37-year-old man. He will have to be turned over on his stomach to allow the blood to circulate better in his lungs. In all, seven Covid patients like him occupy one of the fifteen available beds in the service. None have been fully vaccinated …
Beyond the effort expended to treat him, the mental load is great. “They don’t realize the gravity of their condition. And often with that comes the comfort of families. “I have just consoled a son, it is not always easy. It can be sometimes very hard and morally exhausting to console families. We do not know what to say, we are left speechless.”
Within the same hospital, Caroline Boucaut, the assistant head nurse of intensive care: “It’s frustrating! The workload and fatigue are there. And these patients stay for a very long time, sometimes several weeks. It is very tiring to think that we cannot get out of this health situation.”
Violence reaches inside hospitals
Other services across the country are experiencing the same frustration. The article in Le Soir to which we were referring even evoked a wavering empathy towards unvaccinated covid patients at the CHR de la Citadelle in Liège. If the article was deleted, it is because the decision was taken by mutual agreement with the hospital following an outbreak of hateful comments. Antoine Gruselin, CHR spokesperson, testifies: “We can see that this violence is there at the entrances to the hospital. Security guards have been beaten, students have been verbally assaulted. The violence comes from outside, but it happens more and more inside. , our role as a hospital is to treat, not to defend ourselves! “.
In Liège or in Brussels, for that matter, the staff insist: they will continue to treat all patients as best they can, whatever their choice. For them, but also for their loved ones.