Barbara Coué, 37, who has worked for the past 11 years a nurse at the Lariboisière hospital. She has been on sick leave since May.
“I have a problem with my vertebral column. The MRI [editor’s note: Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan] showed that I have damaged discs between my small vertebrae. That’s notably due to handling people. When you have old people who are heavy, when you have to twist to take a hold of them, it causes damage. One night, I went to attach a drip high up and I could no longer lift my arm above the level of my shoulders. Pushing stretchers which weigh double, even triple my weight, with people on them, when you’re alone, there’s breakage. I wasn’t able to work anymore. I’ve had this problem for two years. I told myself it would pass, that it wasn’t very serious. And if I took sick leave, there would automatically be more work for the others. I didn’t want to place my colleagues in difficulty.”
French hospitals crisis: why staff are sick of their conditions