“HP” and “Hippocrate”, two French medical series at the bedside of a sick public hospital

On the one hand, the portrait of a sinking hospital, on the other, that of a psychiatric hospital that breaks down. Hippocrates, original creation by Canal + and HP, OCS signature series, both follow the daily lives of interns, the first within the internal medicine department, the second within a psychiatric department. After the hospital closed in Nina due to budget cuts, these two French medical series are strangely echoed by deciphering in season 2 the crisis of the public hospital in France. On the occasion of the broadcast of the last episodes of season 2 ofHP on OCS Max at 6:50 p.m., how his two series describe a health system at its end?

At the start of season 2 of Hippocrates, written before the start of the health crisis, a pipe rupture forced the emergency department of the Raymond Poincaré hospital to fall back into the internal medicine department. “A metaphor for the sinking hospital”, concedes Thomas Lilti, the creator of the series, with whom 20 Minutes spoke at a press conference organized by the encrypted channel.

“The news was exploding my fiction”

A theme that naturally imposed itself on the former doctor who became a screenwriter: “during confinement, I wondered if what I was telling was still relevant or if the news was exploding my fiction. I went back to work at the hospital for a bit during the health crisis and realized that I was deeply in the news to tell about the state of the hospital just before the onset of this crisis. “

Season 2 of HP opens with the arrival of “a new circular of the ministry” requiring “to calculate the budget of each service in reality according to the acts carried out”. A measure with “perverse effects” which “encourages caregivers to increase the number of acts”, encouraging doctors to favor “profitable patients” in short-term internships. “This problem arose from what the caregivers told us”, explains Angela Soupe, co-creator of HP, that 20 Minutes met at the last La Rochelle TV Fiction Festival.

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In parallel, a patient puts on a gown and takes himself for a doctor who receives patients. This Kafkaesque reform will plunge the service into absurdity and madness. “We had this desire to show the hospital in crisis. Our guideline was how can we remain human in inhuman conditions, ”says Sarah Santamaria-Mertens, co-creator of the series.

And HP and Hippocrates seem to dialogue, it is because they stick to reality. A hybridization between reality and fiction accentuated by the Covid-19 crisis. “The spectators’ outlook on this season is going to be different. Health and the world of hospitals have been part of our daily lives for a year, ”says Thomas Lilti.

“Means that are not the right ones to cope”

Sheila (Tiphaine Daviot), a young intern in psychiatry, will she succeed in remaining human in a system that is no longer human? “Psychiatry is based on humans. The fact of no longer being able to be human on a daily basis really has an impact on patients, their way of doing their job and the trajectory of the characters, ”continues Angela Soupe.

Around Sheila, a chef on the verge of a nervous breakdown (Marie-Sohna Condé), Jimmy (Raphaël Quenard), her co-intern interned following a burnout at the end of the previous season, and a tutelary figure , Professor VDB (Eric Naggar) in the midst of a depression.

“This man needs to be isolated in his trailer and a certain level of alcohol to face the daily work. The only thing he clings to is doing his job all the way, honestly. This is what still holds him upright, ”summarizes Éric Naggar. In the corridors of the hospital, neon lights are flashing, the walls are decrepit, the paintings are crumbling. “Everything is falling apart,” deplores Sarah Santamaria-Mertens.

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In season 2 of Hippocrates, “Emergencies are repatriated to the general medicine department where our main characters work, who find themselves once again on the front line in an unsuitable department, with unprepared nursing staff, and with the wrong means. to face a difficult situation ”, summarizes Thomas Lilti.

And to continue: “What the public discovered during the health crisis, that is to say these caregivers on the verge of rupture, this discomfort, this hospital which is crumbling, and this enormous surge of humanity that ‘one can know in the hospital, the selflessness of the caregivers, their stubbornness in trying to help others, etc. This courage that we were able to applaud in the evening. That’s what I’m trying to tell in this season. “

“There are a lot of suicides among interns”

With a VDB professor in the process of slipping, an interned intern and an intern who plays the doctors, “the dikes between nursing staff and patients are cracking,” notes producer Marc Missonnier. HP thus skillfully points out the deep malaise of caregivers who are under the pressure of chronic understaffing.

“They do not replace defective bulbs, so the interns that have burned out …” sighs Professor VDB. “It reflects a truth. There are a lot of suicides among interns and some also end up with burnouts. And it slips quite easily, ”recalls Tiphaine Daviot.

Mental health is also at the heart of season 2 of Hippocrates. “Mental illness reflects the discomfort of caregivers, who themselves feel powerless in the face of mental illness and are contaminated by psychiatric disorder,” Thomas Lilti analyzes.

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Caregivers of Hippocrates are also at their wit’s end. “We don’t take care of our caregivers. The morale and state of physical and mental health of caregivers are damaged, ”deplores Thomas Lilti. Igor, “an extremely talented and very sympathetic young intern”, is one of the pillars of this season. “He is under water, he can no longer. He is in pain and is starting to make mistakes, ”announces Thomas Lilti. And to deplore: “We put young caregivers in a situation where they can only fail because they are not armed to do so, and then, we reproach them for failing. “

“It’s a bit political”

“Behind that, there is the desire to say – this is a bit political, but the series is committed from this point of view: 1. The public hospital does not know how to deal with mental illness well and do not take good care of these patients 2. We do not take care of our caregivers. We try to tell this while remaining romantic. But there is this subtext in the series, ”admits Thomas Lilti.

In HP, faced with the deep discomfort of the nursing staff, the hospital management offered a choir workshop. “Putting on this blouse with what’s going on is not trivial. It makes people aware of the terribly important job that these people do and which are not valued at all, like so many others. HP is eminently political, ”says Tiphaine Daviot. And to conclude: “The system is working on its head and it would be good if that changed. If we can raise awareness about it. “.