The heatwave episode that crosses France accentuates tensions in hospitals. But the heat wave is only an aggravating factor in a crisis which has continued to worsen, especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, and which is putting the hospital on the brink of agony: in Ile-de-France, 16% of the beds in the 38 AP-HP hospitals are closed due to lack of staff, i.e. twice as many as before the Covid! The overcrowding of the hospitals is symptomatic of the global crisis of the health system: because of medical desertification, for lack of attending physicians or specialists, many French people fall back on emergencies, which are saturated. From general practitioners to emergency physicians, including nurses in nursing homes and even to health executives, everyone is on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
For six months, director Éric Guéret filmed the daily life of young medical interns in the emergency department of the Delafontaine hospital in Saint-Denis, a Paris suburb. The result is a touching and ambitious documentary, Premières Urgences (released in cinemas on 16 November). As patients pile up in the corridors, the five interns (Amin, Evan, Hélène, Lucie and Mélissa) do their best, with courage and self-sacrifice, despite a glaring lack of resources.