France’s oldest doctor is still treating patients at age 98 amid coronavirus pandemic

People are banding together in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic — even France‘s oldest doctor, who turns 99 this year.

Dr. Christian Chenay, a doctor for 70 years, says his mission is helping people in the “forgotten” suburbs of Paris, Al Jazeera reports.

Chenay is no stranger to infectious diseases. According to Reuters, he treated typhus sufferers during the Second World War.

He’s even outstayed his own son — who retired at 67 — in the profession.

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Lack of general practitioners, the outlet reports, has reached a point of crisis in France, which is one of the reasons Chenay has decided to continue practising.

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“I’m almost 99 years old, I should reduce my activity for many reasons,” he said.

“I work slower than before, I have to take care.”

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The Paris suburb of Chevilly-Larue, for example, has only three doctors for its population of 19,000.

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“We have a disease that is very contagious, that hasn’t affected a lot of people yet. We feel powerless. We don’t have a treatment,” Chenay said.

“We don’t have the possibility of isolating people, we don’t have the means of knowing who’s sick and who’s not.

“I was in contact with quite a few sick people who were probably positive. It would be surprising if I wasn’t positive, too, especially as I had the symptoms for a while.”

When Chenay began showing COVID-19 symptoms, he had to make the hard decision to end in-person appointments, according to Al Jazeera.

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“He’s an extraordinary person, with his age, his lucidity, his joy of life, even in his advanced age,” one woman told Reuters.

He’s back to taking virtual appointments now that he’s out of self-quarantine.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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