Pandemic: the heroes of the first wave can be proud

Pandemic: the heroes of the first wave can be proud

Doctors, an entrepreneur, a cook, a pharmacist and even a postman; the heroes of the pandemic have many faces. They opened their doors to our Investigation Office by offering us privileged access to their daily lives. Six months after the start of the crisis, they are mobilizing again to deal with a possible upsurge.

Roxane therrien

Despite all the solutions she and her team have put in place, the lack of personnel will remain a problem if a second wave hits Quebec, says the head of the pharmacy department of the Integrated Health and Social Services Center (CISSS) of Laval .

“The issue is the mobility of labor between establishments. With COVID, staff cannot move from one place to another. To this problem must be added the shortage of workers, ”explains Roxane Therrien.

The manager would need five more employees to meet all of the needs under normal circumstances, even without COVID-19. Recruitment is difficult.

“I constantly look on the I contribute site, but it's rare to find a pharmacist who doesn't have a job,” she notes.

During the first months of the crisis, Ms. Therrien had to find new ways to provide relief to patients in one of the most affected areas in Quebec. With her team, she succeeded in transforming Place Bell in Laval into a real hospital in just eight days. She managed the looming shortage of drugs by finding alternative solutions.

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In the event of a second wave, she fears that some services will be interrupted again in order to have qualified employees, for example nurses, in problematic areas such as intensive care.

“We moved people and closed services for the first wave, but we risk having a delay if it continues and we cut again,” she admits.

Nonetheless, Ms. Therrien feels ready to face another crisis.

“We have learned a lot in recent months and we have corrected things. For example, each worker is now asked if they are comfortable being moved to another department or establishment. We then choose the volunteers, she adds. But for now, the only thing we can do is see what will happen. ”

Doctor Gabriel Dion

Resident in internal medicine at the Center hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), Gabriel Dion learned part of his profession in the midst of a crisis. He assisted in intensive care and was called upon “to do several techniques, including intubation of patients, when necessary”.

He was even present when the first person with COVID-19 was intubated at the CHUM.

The pandemic will have changed its approach to patients and their families.

“We put ourselves a lot more in the shoes of people who have a loved one who is not well. They want news, as they cannot see it [visits were prohibited], explains Dr. Dion. Now I am calling all the families who are in intensive care. I hope this is a reflex that I will keep in the future. ”

Brennan Reus

Cook for several years, Brennan Reus lost his job at the start of the pandemic and like thousands of Quebecers, he signed up for the Canadian Emergency Benefit (CEP).

Since March, he takes care of his parents, prepares food for his relatives and does not hesitate to “roll up his sleeves” to help his neighbor.

When Prime Minister François Legault urged Quebeckers to donate blood, Mr. Reus rushed to it. He also went to help Fort McMurray, Alta., For 10 days to help residents affected by COVID-19 and flooding.

Unfortunately, the cook has still not found his job. The establishment that employed him is not running at full capacity and cannot hire him at this time.

Before a possible second wave, Mr. Brennan spends time with family and renovates his parents' house.

“I'm even building a shed for them. Anything to keep me busy and help, ”he says.

Stef M. Saad

With his business partner, Stef M. Saad has achieved what no one thought possible: to get his hands on precious KN95 masks in the midst of a global shortage.

“We asked ourselves: 'What can we do to help?' We didn't think about the money. We had to act quickly, ”explains the seasoned entrepreneur who immigrated to Quebec in 2013 and studied at the HEC Montreal business school.

A tour de force which nevertheless almost failed. The shipment of 10,000 masks expected in early April, valued at more than $ 25,000, did not arrive safely. Had she been hijacked? The transport company pleaded a computer error.

Supported by the federal and provincial governments, businessmen have worked hard. For them, failure was not an option. A few days later, the masks were finally delivered.

Mr. Saad will continue to keep watch over the next few months.

“We are always ready to help our fellow citizens. And if Quebec needs other masks, we will be there. It is our responsibility. ”

Dr Erik Brown

A specialist in ear, nose, throat, neck and head diseases, Dr. Erik Brown was at the forefront of the changes made to Notre-Dame Hospital in Montreal when the pandemic struck Quebec.

He also documented the different stages of the hospital's mobilization to demonstrate the staff's efforts to slow down the pandemic.

He did not hesitate to return to intensive care, where the needs were the most pressing.

“As professionals, we have been able to develop knowledge outside our field. I hadn't been in intensive care for a long time. I think at the end of it all, the experience will bring us closer together. It allows us to get to know each other better and to know the other specialties, ”says ENT, who feels better prepared to function safely this fall.

Dr. Caroline Quach

In the spring, the needs were so great in the field, and her expertise so important, that the microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at the Center hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal could no longer do research.

“It was made impossible,” explains Dr. Caroline Quach, a leading figure in her field.

With the pandemic slowing down since June, she has found time to lean back into research and catch up. She has never hesitated to speak in the media to explain to Quebecers the evolution of the pandemic and the effects of the coronavirus.

Since March, solid as a rock, Dr. Quach has been at the heart of the crisis and she is ready to face a possible second wave.

Guillaume Brodeur

A postman for Canada Post, Guillaume Brodeur has witnessed empty streets, the isolation of the elderly and the meteoric rise in online shopping.

The father of a family, he has made it his duty to keep an eye on the vulnerable people to whom he delivers mail to make sure they get through.

“I am proud to be a postman, to deliver packages, medicines, essential things to people,” he says. We feel we have a role to play. We know our world. We know where the elderly stay. If the mail collects in front of the door, we will check if everything is correct. ”

♦ The protagonists in this report were photographed during a session during which the rules of physical distancing were respected.

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