Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Days In, Days Out: A doctor’s life during Covid-19

Covid 19 airlock sign on the floor of the unit. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

After my father’s gastroenterology ward turned into a Covid ward at the peak of the crisis, he let me shadow him for a day and discover his workplace for the first time. 

He has been working at Avicenne Hospital, in Seine-Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris, since 1984. It was founded as the Franco-Muslim hospital of the capital. This area is in one of the least privileged districts which made it one of those hit the hardest by coronavirus.

This is one doctor’s life during Covid-19: the atmosphere at the hospital and moments at home that bring us closer together.

During an online class, medical personnel demonstrate how to manage oxygen therapy. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

My father, a gastroenterologist, takes time out to learn from a Covid-19 webinar. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

A plastic sheet blocks an area of the unit shut down due to coronavirus. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

My father, Dr. Benamouzig, head of Covid ward, with two nurse supervisors. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

During an online conference with Chinese gastroenterologists, my father reads the slides in English as the doctors speak Chinese. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

Walking down the corridors with the nurse supervisor, organizing the days to come. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

“The government told us people who had masks still got sick. But when you are at war on the battle ground, you can wear a bullet-proof vest and still get hit in the head. Personally, I wouldn’t go there naked.” Surgeon, Philippe Wind. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

Big Guy is the mascot of the gastroenterology ward, now adorned with a face mask during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

The Islamic architecture of Avicenne Hospital dates back to 1935. Until 1978, the hospital was called the Franco-Muslim Hospital. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

Gardening with my mother is part of my parents’ resolution to tidy up the whole house. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

First night of the Jewish holiday of Passover. “This is the bread of the poor that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all those who are hungry come and eat with us.” Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

For the first time my grandfather has to bless everyone in the family through Whatsapp during the Mimouna Jewish celebration on the last night of Passover. Family members are calling in from Africa, the Middle East, and France. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

Dialogue by François Cheng is one of the many books my father picked up from all the piles scattered around while he was tidying up. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

Fuji donated polaroid cameras so that each person in the unit can wear their photographs on their gowns since they cannot be recognized with their masks on. Photo by Elsa Benamouzig

This is a project of  Lori Grinker’s  NYU graduate photojournalism class.


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