Lessons learned in COVID-19’s first wave benefiting French patients, doctors say

With Paris locked down for a surging second wave of the coronavirus, doctors say they are now better equipped to save lives after learning valuable lessons in treating the disease’s first wave earlier this year.

Philippe Montravers and the 150 doctors and nurses he leads at the Bichat Hospital, which was the first facility outside China to record a COVID-19 related death in February, said they have now become experts at treating the virus.

“In the first wave, people didn’t dare come to the hospital,” he said “They were scared, scared of being infected, When they arrived, they were on their last legs, exhausted, unable to move, and so — hop! — we intubated and ventilated them.”

Now the hospital relies less on the invasive treatment and uses steroids to treat patients — a therapy that was not available to them during the first wave. If patients need oxygen, doctors at the hospital dispense it through face masks rather than tubes, Montravers said. The sick are also better informed, and seek medical treatment as soon as they feel the onset of coronavirus symptoms, said Montravers. As a result, patients are spending less time in hospital, he said.

There are 1,915,677 coronavirus cases in France, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been monitoring COVID-19 around the world. The country recorded 42,600 deaths.

With Post wires

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