Pyrénées-Orientales: Desperately seeking a doctor for a helpless, seriously ill and isolated octogenarian

For two months at the bedside of Jacques, 89, the former locksmith of Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, his son and his daughter-in-law have been absent with a heavy heart. The couple are forced to go back to their home in Nantes, condemned the octogenarian alone until the end of August when the spouses will go down to pick him up to take him to an Ephad, near them. Or, by then, the sick old man has no emergency doctor to call. His GP retired. And he finds no new one.

Lying on a medical bed installed in his house in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, Jacques Jamesse-Lejeune stares at his son Pascal with a gentle gaze that we can guess once steel blue. The pain, throbbing, relentless, unbearable, which torments him despite powerful painkillers and can, squint his tired eyes. And then, even if he doesn’t whine, if he never complains, Jacques has understood that Pascal and his wife Anne-Marie will soon have to leave.

He will then find himself almost alone with his fan at hand. “We have everything planned. A nurse will come every day for treatment and medication, a home helper too, meals will be brought to him and a neighbor has promised to visit him daily to make sure he is well. good…”, lists his daughter-in-law. She posted on the walls all the instructions to observe during their three weeks of absence. Everything except the telephone number of Jacques’ attending physician to contact. For good reason, the 89-year-old octogenarian no longer has one. He is like these more and more patients in the Pyrénées-Orientales to see their general practitioner putting the caduceus under the door. Lack of replacement or successor. This side of the Salanque, sadly notes his relatives, becomes a medical desert. Laurentin’s state of health would actually require a local doctor.

“The confinement has weakened him enormously, he is undernourished and, last May, he was tested for a subdural hematoma linked to his multiple falls”, explains Pascal. Hospitalized until June 20, Jacques was able to return to his home specially fitted out by his family for his new handicap. Physically diminished, the old man hardly gets up anymore, at the risk of falling, he has lost the autonomy that animated him in the past. Moreover, on July 18, he sank into further unbearable suffering. “He writhed in pain because of a big ball he had under his left arm”his son was alarmed.

Faced with unbearable suffering, a vain and unbearable race for doctors

The couple called SOS Médecins who “didn’t have an appointment available. We also tried the private practitioners in the sector, none could take him. So we dialed 15”. The spouses are directed to the medical center of the hospital, which sends them to the Emergency Department. The grandpa comes out of it in the night with “a suspected lipoma of subacute evolution”, in other words, a large soft tissue tumor, and two prescriptions. The first for an ultrasound to be performed within seven days and the other for a stomatology appointment within a fortnight. “And here we go again for the race for doctors. I phoned all the radiology departments, the only possible appointment was on September 7th”, despair Anne-Marie and Pascal Jamesse. Who are not at the end of their sentence.

The galley indeed resurfaces to find a general practitioner who must prescribe Jacques a wheelchair. Despite the efforts of the CPAM mediator who warns them as soon as she has a lead for a doctor less overloaded than the others, and of the DAC 66, a support and medical coordination device which follows them and directs them, nothing is not done. It’s no on no. The solution will ultimately come from the pharmacist to whom the couple takes Jacques for his reminder of the anti-Covid vaccine. “When she saw him in this state, she ran to the doctor’s surgery opposite and exceptionally got us a consultation.” The octogenarian is placed under morphine and plans.

Exhausted, dejected, Anne-Marie and Pascal offer him “a retirement home here. He refused, he prefers an establishment in Nantes near our home where he can finally see his two grandchildren and his five great-grandchildren., breathes his daughter-in-law. After making a hundred phone calls in search of a practitioner who agrees to complete the medical file essential for admission to an nursing home, “a miracle that happened on July 28”the spouses will take advantage of their temporary return to Nantes to find a place for him in a cozy nest. “We leave all the same upset. We hope that his lipoma will not be evaluated or worsen in our absence”, lament his relatives who promised to call him morning, noon and evening. The death in the soul of leaving him alone, without a family doctor to alert. A situation which unfortunately tends to extend to all the territories of France.

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