Elderly woman leaves last available Intensive care unit bed to younger patients

On "Le Monde" three doctors and a sociologist wrote an open letter to a woman, then deceased due to covid-19.

"She didn't want to take the last place in the Intensive care unit, she wanted to leave it to someone who could have been her son or grandson. Dear Mrs. Denise needed so much oxygen that she wanted to be sure that there would be enough left for everyone": these are the words in the open letter published by Le Monde and dedicated to 'Denise', an old woman  with covid-19 who preferred to leave the last available bed in the intensive care unit of Saint Louis Hospital in Paris to someone stronger and younger, and with a better chance of surviving.

Words that Denise will not be able to read because she died a few days after her hospitalization in March.

These words are written by three doctors and a sociologist: Elie Azoulay, head of the resuscitation department at Saint Louis Hospital in Paris and founder of Famiréa, Sade Beloucif, head of the resuscitation department at Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny, Nancy Kentish-Barnes, sociologist of the resuscitation department at Saint Louis Hospital, Matthieu Le Dorze, an anesthesiologist at Lariboisière Hospital.

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"It was neither her old tumor that had almost healed, nor her heart failure, nor her advanced age that prevented her admission to the Intensive care unit. She made the decision not to enter, she expressed her wish. She didn't want to occupy the last available bet in Intensive care, she wanted to leave it to someone who could have been her son or grandson.

"Talking to her son was precious. We tried to let her go accompanied by her loved ones. We will never forget the tranquillity and sweetness of her big black eyes. We will never forget that she asked us to go and take care of the patients who had a chance to make it. She only had a few days left, but the smile was the same as always".

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The public letter continues: "The priority given to an individual can be supplanted by the priority given to the community, provided that the fundamental principles and values of care are preserved", before greeting Denise: "Thank you again for this meeting so rich in teachings".

Ph: nurses caring for elderly or disabled people in a nursing home during the coronavirus pandemic Covid-19. By Tommy Larey / Shutterstock.com

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