Even Prime Minister François Legault pointed out on social networks: the episodes of De garde 24/7 relating to the COVID-19 crisis, as experienced at Maisonneuve-Rosemont hospital, constituted an “unprecedented” incursion And carefully documented at the heart of the pandemic.
Starting this week, On Guard 24/7 returns to more traditional subjects, with episodes shot before confinement. But the three hours devoted to COVID, broadcast from September 10 to 24, are still available for catch-up on the Télé-Québec website (telequebec.tv) and prove to be a very true and burning portrait of the whirlwind that animated the Maisonneuve-Rosemont emergency, even before the coronavirus spread in the province.
“There is not a documentary maker who will tell you that he does not dream of doing that”, hisses Paul-Maxime Corbin, director of De garde 24/7 . “It's being at the heart of a crisis, it's crying out for the truth. We have even more the impression that our work has a meaning, and I think it is important to know what awaits us, to be aware of the dangers that lie in wait for us and to understand the extent of the work and the relentlessness of the people. who worked while we were depressed to be locked up at home … “
Camped at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital since 2017 – after a two-year stay at Charles-Lemoyne Hospital -, the 24/7 On-call team, used to investing in the different departments of the establishment for the needs of filming, used a fine resource of resourcefulness to reinvent his concept and capture images in a hospital environment when access was even forbidden to relatives of patients, at the height of the tumult.
The main way to bring the project to fruition? Provide iPhones to medical staff, doctors and nurses, to steal moments between caregivers and patients. Gradually, GoPro cameras and virtual interviews were also incorporated into the process.
“They do not all have iPhones of the year,” says Paul-Maxime Corbin, to illustrate the difficulty. “But you had to see the content they sent us: it was mo-nu-men-tal!
“Some people sent us 60 videos a week. […] It was a dance that lasted for months. The last big step was the first heat wave in May. ”
Among other findings, Paul-Maxime Corbin says he was upset by the exhaustion that awaited employees in the health sector.
“Fatigue, both physical and emotional, was very present. The fatigue of seeing people die in a chain, of seeing so many people die alone, it's not easy. I think they felt very helpless. ”
Another observation: the involvement of women in the achievements of these workers who have been nicknamed the “guardian angels”.
“It's a very feminine environment. While this was happening, I often told myself that it was legions of women holding the world at arm's length. And I found that very moving, ”says Paul-Maxime Corbin.
For now, Télé-Québec has not yet ruled on the future of De garde 24/7, but Corbin and his troops say they are ready to resume the camera at any time to document the second wave of the epidemic. which is currently underway.
With their three Gemini trophies scooped up last week, the creators of On Guard 24/7 have in store for us reports on other fascinating topics, some never explored, for the remainder of their sixth season.
Forays in mental health, complex because requiring the consent of patients, and in trauma, in Santa Cabrini, are particularly on the schedule.
Télé-Québec presents De garde 24/7 on Thursdays at 8 p.m.