France's oldest doctor, 98-year-old Dr Christian Chenay, has become the role model of the medical fraternity battling coronavirus globally. Despite the old age and COVID-19 pandemic, the nonagenarian continues to treat the sick in Chevilly-Larue, Paris.
Inching closer to 99, Dr Chenay, who treated typhus patients during the Second World War, vividly remembers the 1918 Spanish flu. France has registered more than 165,000 coronavirus positive and witnessed over 17,000 deaths.
Dr Chenay developed coronavirus like symptoms
Prior to the pandemic, Dr Chenay used to run a clinic which was closed after two of his patients turned violent demanding his healthcare equipment including face masks and gloves. Speaking to Reuters, he said: "If I had kept my surgery open, it would have been a laboratory for the virus, a hotbed of infection."
According to The Sun, soon after the incident, Dr Chenay felt some coronavirus like symptoms and placed himself under two weeks of quarantine. However, even the quarantine and virus-like symptoms couldn't keep him away from his patients, as the 98-year-old continued his online consultations.
Once he was out of the red zone, Dr Chenay started visiting the retirement home for missionaries to offer consultations. "I've known them since they were young student priests. They left for the Americas, Africa and India. Now they are old and poorly," said Dr Chenay, who first visited the missionaries in 1951.
Nonagenarian feels powerless against Coronavirus
Hailing from Angers in western France, Dr Chenay was a welder before he became a doctor. Prior to becoming a general physician Dr Chenay qualified as a radiologist. Irked over the manner in which France handled the pandemic and the country's lack of preparedness to fight the battle against coronavirus, Dr Chenay said he is frustrated.
Stating to Reuters that he is struggling to understand how a western power during peacetime could struggle to look after its sick, Dr Chenay said: "You feel powerless. There's no treatment, we have no way of knowing who is sick and who is not and we cannot isolate patients."
Last year, Le Parisien conducted an interview with his patients, who called him 'an extraordinary doctor with a big heart who listens.' "When I see around me young 40-year-old who complain of being tired, when he is close to a hundred and does not want to retire, I am amazed!" said one of his patients. Commenting on the lack of medical services in Chevilly-Larue, which has merely three doctors, the doctor said: "Doctors don't want to register anyone new, they're swamped."