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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Cherbourg. Organ harvesting suspended at the hospital: angry doctors

Each year, between three and seven patients are “sampled”.  About half of the potential donors identified.
Each year, between three and seven patients are “sampled”. About half of the potential donors identified. (©Jean-Paul BARBIER/La Manche Press)

Since 1er February 2023the management of Cotentin public hospital center (CHPC) decided to suspend the activity of the coordination service for the removal of tissues and organs. And this, for a maximum of three months.

This decision was taken in a brutal and unilateral way. We were told this by email the same day, without prior discussion, and with the agreement of the president of the Establishment Medical Community (CME). As caregivers, in the medical and paramedical teams, we found it extremely violent, abrupt. We felt a little trapped in the face of a fait accompli.

Dr Julien Calus head of division

“Lack of dialogue” pointed

The paramedical teams have been redispatched in the services, pending a reopening. The hope, today, is to reopen initially “in degradation” At the beginning of April… if everyone is ready to leave, as the anger seems strong in the corridors.

The content and the form extremely shocked the agents and the medical community. This raises a question: do we continue, despite all our good will, when we see that we can stop an activity overnight, suddenly? We close and then we look for solutions… It doesn’t make sense.

Julien Calus

This very demanding activity, requiring a strong mobilization of caregivers. These are long procedures, which can take several days. This can lead professionals to accumulate a very long working time. Reason why, at Cherbourgthe management considers that a strengthening of the teams, accompanied by an optimal reorganization, is essential to relaunch it under good conditions.

“No procedure has been written with the other establishments to transfer potential donors”

This decision, the medical team explains today to contest it, even if it concedes “malfunctions” and the possibility of improving things. “We had already put in place, when there was a shortage of staff, on-call schedules where there were gaps, in order to respect the working time”, continues Julien Calus. “We could have gone back to that system while we moved forward. We made proposals, but…”

From the four to five paramedics today, the workforce should be doubled to regain stability and keep a schedule on-call. This goes through specific training.

A petition launched

At the beginning of last week, several doctors resolved to start a petition on the internet to say “stop the submission of CHPC nursing staff”, believing that the episode was indicative of a lack of communication and consultation with the teams.

They explain that they waited a month before communicating to give a chance for dialogue with management. A first meeting took place this Friday, March 3, 2023.

Videos: currently on Actu

There is currently a shortage of grafts and we allow ourselves to close the service. No communication was made internally. Several services are however involved, upstream. Emergencies, resuscitation, neurology, cardiology, even Samu. No one has been notified.

Isabelle Desmeullesdoctor in the intensive care unit

Management said last week that during the suspension period, potential donors would be directed to other centers. Doctors disagree.

“No sample has been taken for a month (organs or corneas), and no procedure has been written with the other establishments (Avranches, Saint-Lô, CHU de Caen) to transfer possible donors, continues Julien Calus. The resuscitation or coordination services of the other hospitals have not been officially informed of our closure…”

An alternative protocol claimed

I’biomedicine agency and the ARS (Regional Health Agency) have been informed of the closure. In response, the biomedicine agency sent a letter to the hospital asking for an alternative protocol to be put in place.

Remained so far unanswered, according to doctors. “It’s difficult, because you can’t transfer a patient an hour and a half from his family when he is dying,” comments Isabelle Desmeulles. “Perhaps he will pass into brain death, but we are not sure… It may be feasible, but very complicated to implement with the transport of unstable patients. If the doctors had been involved in the decision-making process, they could have said that…”

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