“Vital prognosis”, at the heart of an intensive care unit

Life prognosis

At 11:05 p.m. on France 2

Never has there been so much talk about the number of intensive care admissions as since the Covid crisis. But beyond the figures given each week by the authorities, what is happening in these services where the most serious patients are hospitalized, often for a completely different reason than the coronavirus? For six months, the director Eric Guéret posed his cameras in the intensive care unit of the Delafontaine hospital, in Saint-Denis (1), illuminating a reality usually hidden from view.

A human look at bodies

Keeping away from shocking images, this documentary of more than an hour takes the time to follow each patient, trying, like the caregivers around them, to take a human look at their bodies, subjected to the harsh test of respiratory assistance and, in the most critical cases, artificial coma.

While the director often chooses to suggest rather than show, some scenes are difficult to bear, especially when the families are confronted with the extreme vulnerability of their loved one, on a thin line between life and death. Accompanying them in this ordeal is also an integral part of the work of caregivers in intensive care, far from being limited to technical gestures. An often overlooked aspect that the director illustrates very accurately, letting the dialogue scenes stretch.

When a patient’s stay is prolonged, or his chances of survival dwindle, the time comes to question the validity of extremely heavy treatments. How far to go to keep alive a person whose body seems to have exhausted all its resources? Where does therapeutic relentlessness begin? So many questions that the teams ponder for a long time, aware of the crushing responsibility incumbent on them. A commitment of which most patients, when they wake up, measure the full extent. Like this woman, returned from several weeks of coma. And who, just unintubated, forces her hoarse voice to repeat to them ” thank you “.

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