Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A French nurse has been fired for volunteering to help at other hospitals as they are crying out for medical professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The unnamed nurse reportedly worked at the Hospital Centre Regional University Morvan De Brest in the city of Brest in France’s north-westernmost region of Brittany since 2019.
Reports say that the AP-HP (Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris) appealed for more medical workers on 20th March to assist with the battle against COVID-19.
The nurse explained: “Since mid-March the Brest hospital closed its services to prepare for the epidemic. Some workers were forced to leave their homes due to lack of activity. I was in this situation for two weeks between 16th and 29th March.”
The 25-year-old added: “When I read in a newspaper that the Brest hospital is appealing for volunteers to help in Paris hospitals, I didn’t think twice! That’s what I did, but I got blamed for it.”
Reports said that on 21st March the young nurse volunteered “under the condition of acceptance by the hospital”.
The Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris responded the same day and the nurse explained: “The director Helene Gendreau assured me by email, ‘I will contact the Brest hospital’s human resources department to secure the situation’.”
Local media said the young woman left on 22nd March after organising the care of her daughter. She worked first at the Bichat hospital and then at Lariboisiere.
She said: “I worked six exhausting nights in one week!
“In Paris, I am alone and confined. I expose myself and my family to risks, but at least I feel useful!”
On 26th March, she reportedly received an email from the Brest hospital management, informing her that her contract has not been renewed “for the moment” and that her availability for the AP-HP does not extend beyond 5th April whereas initially it was until 22nd April.
An excerpt from the email says: “In view of the health situation and the containment measures taken by the government, you owe it to yourself to stay in the Paris region.”
The nurse said: “On 16th March, the Brest hospital had initially committed to renewing my contract.”
But she added: “Now I am being fired because I left to help the AP-HP when I should have been confined to Brest, an hour and a half away from my hospital. Yet the president declared ‘war’.”
Thomas Bourhis, head of the General Confederation of Workers, said: “She is an excellent professional. The problem is that she is on contract and the management did not appreciate her going to Paris.”
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