Covid-19: a French ICU medic's fatigue and fear for when the curtain is raised

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Amid the coronavirus epidemic in France, Mediapart has been asking doctors from a range of different hospital services to describe, in their own words, their day-to-day experiences and difficulties in coping with the current crisis. Here, Matthieu, a 26-year-old junior doctor in an intensive care unit in the north-east city of Strasbourg, describes the physical and psychological exhaustion of his relentless duty shifts over recent weeks, and his fears of a backdraught of the epidemic after the lifting of the national lockdown.

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Mathieu is an “interne”, a junior doctor, in intensive care medicine at a teaching hospital in Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region in north-east France. He is one of around 30,000 ‘intern’ medics of all types in the country, who are full-time medical staff gaining clinical experience after their studies and who work in semi-autonomy under the authority of a senior doctor.