"Ba lot of people think that Chloe is a pseudonym, she says with a big smile. Well no, she wears that name. And since the 1st January, Chloé Bertolus even occupies the position of head of maxillofacial surgery department of the hospital of Pitié-Salpêtrière, in Paris, where was operated our friend Philippe Lançon, dramatically disfigured during the attack on Charlie. This story has become the Lambeau, exceptional work, with Chloé as the heroine of this trip to the heart of the hospital. "It's a weird thing to be in a story," she concedes immediately. And since ? "How to say ? The book itself becomes a kind of manifesto. The other day, and it shocked me a bit, I visited the 2e floor. Of the ten patients, three had the Lambeau by their side. " The teacher reflects for a moment, looking for the right word, with her clear voice: "It's a form of claim. Philippe Lançon has fictitized our relationship. And the others now claim a similar relationship. Or claim it, I do not know. In any case, it's a bit strange. "
We are not worried about her. Chloe Bertolus impresses. Solid, big, classy. But she also knows how to put distance. She is not here to seduce, but to explain and do. Long and blond hair, impeccable outfit, chic navy sneakers, his new office is filled with a very controlled mess. Her resume is magnificent: 47 years old, surgeon, university professor, service leader of one of the most advanced units of modern medicine, in short, the crème de la crème hospital. And when it is argued that it is quite rare in this ultramasculine world of mandarins, she answers quietly: "The difficulties that I have encountered, I would rather put on the count of my shortcomings, not my kind. But maybe I'm blind? In any case, I always had what I wanted. " We insist, pointing to the harshness of this world. "I'm tough too. And then the pitfalls, I saw them coming. I never thought that something was forbidden to me because I was a woman. "
Would we be in front of a woman all of a block, strong as a rock, archetype of the surgeon? Not so sure. Here she is also a balancing actor. "In fact, I feel like I've done a lot in my life. Things were done, I let them do it. " Who's deciding ? Do or leave the circumstances? Chloe Bertolus defeats. She can quote Jacques Lacan, as being of a surgical precision, when she explains to you a clinical gesture. In any case, she chose frontally to occupy a special place. She is the one who repairs the damage, or the dramas, of life.
And yet, she tells you, "To be a doctor was not a vocation". In addition, there was no family atavism. Good middle, good student. "I was criticized enough," she amuses herself to note. She does not know her father, who cut family bridges very early. With her mother and father-in-law, who builds telecommunications centers, and with her two half-brothers, she will live a childhood from one city to another, often abroad. After? "I did not know what to do. I told myself Sciences-Po, then ENA. My father-in-law insisted: "But for what? And finally, I took medicine out of my hat! " And she continues on the same vein: "Surgery ? I did not really think about it. These are the encounters, what I call "selective affinities". People with whom you want to work. And then working with my hands pleased me. " We still insist: but why maxillofacial surgery, this flagship discipline but poorly known? "Meetings again, and in the different branches of surgery, there are reputations. In maxillofacial, we have the reputation of being nice. And that's true", she says.
So here it is with Professor Patrick Goudot. She succeeds wonderfully, climbs all the ladder, accompanying at the same time the spectacular progress of this specialty. In particular, she participated in this revolution that was "the flap", namely the ability to take on a part of the body a bone, skin and a vascular system, and then graft on another part of the body. On the face, in this case, for Philippe Lançon.
An incredible microsurgery. "It has nothing to do with cosmetic surgery, slice does, we are talking about people who can not go out on the street because they miss half of their faces. " The goal? "I often say," I just want my patients to go unnoticed. " Or : "I can not know what my patients want. What I know is what we are able to offer them. " Here it is educational: "We can give back a function. To people who have removed half of the language, we will rebuild it, and they will talk again. To others, we will rebuild a jaw, they will be able to eat. But also give a face. To be recognized as a human being, you have to have something that looks like a mouth, a nose, eyes. You have to look like someone. Or to everyone. "
In short, give shape. "You know, modesty is needed. When we started in our service to operate on cancer patients, one of the surgeons said to us: "You have the feeling of having saved a life, remember that you have only prolonged it." Finally, we do not save anything. " Chloé Bertolus is so, in doing so. "To a priest with whom I was talking, I explained that some nights, with some patients who do not go well at all, we are there, on the doorstep of their room, and we say," Why? " This is the great why, the why of the vanity of existence. Why go there, when we all die one day? "
Believing? Chloe Bertolus, Catholic mother, Protestant father, answers in the negative, is rather right. She plays when she can cello, and now lives with a lawyer. She reads a lot, has no children. "It's now that I feel regret," She confesses. She does not dwell on the subject.
From his office, just released the HRD of the hospital. They have deleted one of the three operating theaters: "The hospital is tough. But I have always heard that hospitals are on the brink of implosion. We have created a strange feeling about us because of the fact that we are expensive. " "Now, as a service leader, I have to fight other fights." And to hear it, it's not the simplest.
photo Jérôme Bonnet for "Liberation"
January 2015 Attack of Charlie.
September 2015 Appointed professor.
2018 Lambeau Philippe Lancon.
January 2019 Head of Maxillofacial Surgery Department.