At the Children’s Hospital of Toulouse University Hospital, pediatric emergencies record between 200 and 220 passages per day, from Monday to Sunday. Epidemics, saturation of liberal cabinets, impossibility for certain families to advance the costs: the activity would be up to 70% higher.
Overwhelmed pediatric emergencies, weekdays and weekends, in April and October. Unheard of according to doctors. In Toulouse, the Children’s Hospital currently has between 200 and 220 emergency visits per day. “It’s not normal, it’s 50% to 70% more than what we should have. Usually, during this period, we are at 135 visits on weekdays and 150 to 170 on weekends, ”says Professor Isabelle Claudet, head of the children’s department at the University Hospital Center (CHU) in Toulouse.
“It’s been like this since September but since we only talked about the Covid, we forgot that the pediatric emergencies were under water. The pressure has been very high for three weeks, especially on consultations. Traumatology only concerns 30% of passages, 70% of visits are medical and more than half come under liberal medicine, ”continues the pediatrician, who mentions several factors. “There is indeed an epidemic pressure (a late flu epidemic, still covid, respiratory viruses and gastroenteritis) which also manifests itself in adults and therefore which saturates city medical practices. We also think that the financial aspect plays a role because we see families who clearly cannot afford the costs of a consultation. And then, as always, there are people who exaggerate, who want medical advice right away when they could have an appointment with their doctor but within a time frame that does not seem appropriate to them”.
“Consult the attending physician when possible”
Unlike traditional winter periods, especially with cases of bronchiolitis, this influx of consultations does not embolize hospitalizations. But the teams, not spared by the epidemics, show their exhaustion.
“Common sense should be used and the attending physician first when possible. But while the permanence of care should start at 8 p.m. on weekdays and at noon on Saturdays, it is increasingly difficult to find medical practices open at the end of the day or on Saturday mornings. Today’s doctors no longer want to be drudgery and claim a family life, so we have to put more arms into our services”, pleads Professor Isabelle Claudet, who is impatiently awaiting the opening of the on-call medical center in Purpan, near the Children’s Hospital, announced for December 2021 and still postponed.