Humanitarian Mission to the house for a cardiologist

Mission humanitaire à la maison pour un cardiologue

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The cardiologist Joaquim Miró was infected on his first day in a CHSLD.

He saw the horror and death in the face. In Afghanistan, where it has operated in hospitals illegal, the Middle East, where he was treated under the Scud missiles during the Gulf war, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, in Cambodia in the Khmer rouge… With Doctors without borders, the cardiologist pediatric Joaquim Miró has continued for seven years, a humanitarian mission before continuing his work within the organization Sainte-Justine at the heart of the world, which he co-founded 15 years ago. Then he had to go back to Ethiopia in April, he never would have thought it was in Quebec that he was going to do his next mission.

“What I’ve seen, these are people who were dying for lack of care, who literally died of thirst. These are people who, at the end of their road, have decided to let go. The humanitarian crisis, it was here, too “, said the cardiologist of the hospital Sainte-Justine, visibly touched.

He had lifted the hand to go help in a CHSLD, having felt the desperation in the calls for reinforcements repeated by the prime minister. But it is when he has seen him hold a news special on what was happening at the residence Herron Dorval that he had understood that the castle of cards had come crashing down.

“All these patients who had died, the staff who was no longer there… I told myself that what I saw there, it was what I had seen in the hospital Black Lion in Addis Ababa. Patients dying in corridors, without care, in the same horrible conditions “, he says, before going to a hard finding even harder : “But what we would never see at the Black Lion, it is the patients abandoned by their families. “

Sometimes, I had to contact families of deceased patients and none of the phone numbers on file was not valid

— Joaquim Miró


Die alone

Joaquim Miró did not hesitate, two weeks ago, to join a delegation of care providers in Sainte-Justine that have invested in two bungalows for seniors of the university Institute of geriatrics of Montreal. He who has survived the bombardment of the soviet helicopters was struck down by the unseen enemy upon his first evening in the hot zone of the CHSLD, 100 % COVID-19. This has not prevented him from grasping the magnitude of the skid. “It was… catastrophic. “

Far from the actions in its practice, the fifty-year-old to 35 years of experience has assisted orderlies and nurses. “It was really in the basic care “, he says. “I had proposed to make acts more medical, as the lay of intravenous fluids to people dehydrated which would have been necessary, but we were not even able to monitor. It was as poor as that. “

In addition to reassure the families, the doctor is also of the findings of death. Much too in just two nights. “Sometimes, I had to contact families of deceased patients and none of the phone numbers on file was not valid. It confirmed to me that these people had never received a visit since they had been admitted, ” he says.

“It was very sad, this management of the dead in solitude. It’s going to take that as a society, we ask questions about the treatment of our elderly. Because outside of the epidemic of COVID-19, many of them would have died, anyway, in oblivion. “

According to Dr. Miro, even if a small part of the residents received again the visit of the members of their families, the prohibition of access of these family caregivers had an effect in demoralizing on the whole of the charge. “Many of them have experienced a crisis of confidence in the system “, analyse-t-il.

Mission comfort

For him, in spite of the hesitations and criticisms, it was all the more important for physicians to specialists to go give a hand in a CHSLD. “The staff was in a state of shock. It was necessary to show him that there was help that was coming. That’s what doctors like me have felt the most useful. Just for that, it was necessary to go there. “

Mission humanitaire à la maison pour un cardiologue

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
Dr. Joaquim Miró

He even dared a parallel with Afghanistan in the 1980s, which was a lost cause in the eyes of many. “People thanked us for the medical care, but many have thanked me for simply being there, to witness to their reality and to comfort them in their feeling exist yet “, said the cardiologist of Catalan origin.

“It’s a little of what I felt from the clerks and nurses. It is as if we said to them : you are important enough that it mobilizes medical specialists. “

And the arrival of the army has without doubt played the same role, he believes. “For weeks, these caregivers have been abandoned, without protective equipment and with rules enforcement and threats. And despite that, they stayed. “Until the end of the interview, Dr. Miro will insist :” Don’t forget to say, the hero, it is them. “

Two parallel worlds

But when it comes to the management of the hospitals, there stops the comparison with the rest of the world. The cardiologist noted that some countries adapt much more quickly to changes than Quebec.

“This is one of the things that make that I still love the humanitarian. It is possible to put programs in place in the space of two weeks, ” he remarked. In spite of everything, these countries are, unfortunately, too dependent on the West, who will suffer from a famine of scope when the international aid will fall down. “This will be the slaughter “, he predicted, could not help but worry.

In the meantime, Joaquim Miró, quivient received his second negative test result, will be able to put the collar back on. Aprèsquelques days of follow-up to sainte-Justine hospital, he will not hesitate to return to the front. For some time, its humanitarian mission is in Quebec, probably in a unit COVID-19 of a hospital, where this will probably come to the next call for help. Another opportunity, hopefully, going to show that the reinforcements are there.


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