André Alves


Institut Mutualiste Montsouris

Paris, March 2021

For two days I had the opportunity to follow the hospital COVID-19 medical team of L’Institut Mutualiste Montsouris a hospital at the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

Three floors were dedicated for the COVID-19 patients. The 7th and 2nd floor are the ones where the patients are more stable but still under strong vigilance because although they do not need assistance to breathe they can get worse at any point. As this virus can attack quickly, when a patient reaches the first floor life support can be its last hope for recovery then there is nothing left.

During these two days I thought I would find a stressful and confusing behind the scenes but I was surprised with the calm and hope of the medical staff. They all do their best and they do not give up despite the circunstances as they have to cope with the third peak wave of the virus. Sadly this has been going on for too long with no end in sight.

It is never easy to deal with death, to feel a soul running away so closely. sorrowfully despite all the effort sometimes it is a losing fight for survival.

Side by side

I met this couple at the 7th floor of the COVID-19 unit. This hospital is one of the few places where couples are allowed to stay in the same room.

Unfortunately at this point of their life they were caught by this pandemic and were both infected with the COVID-19 virus. Luckily they were able to be together and to remain in each other’s company. A love of a lifetime, I believe they are stronger this way to fight this virus.

In the next room was another couple. I did not have the opportunity of meeting them. sadly I ended up finding the husband in is way to the 1st floor where the ICU is located where he would end up dying the next morning.

Not all stories manage to end well but at least they had the chance to go through this together and support each other to the fullest.

Intensive Care Unit

Here we reach the last stage and after that there is nothing else.

This man has been ventilated for several days in the ICU, his blood is drawn through a huge tube into a blood purification machine so the filtered blood can return to his body.

This technique is used for patients in serious condition from COVID-19 which consists of removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen to it, is thanks to this procedure that it can breathe, is a very invasive and complex treatment, and perhaps his last resort.
In these photos we can see one of the most complicated phase of the day, the patient needs to be turned over at least once a day to be able to breathe better, at least six nurses are needed for this task, an extremely delicate and intense process as they need to remove the tubes very quickly but still with the greatest care in the world.