Agde: Doctor Jacques Salembier draws a line under forty years of medicine in Cape Town

Agde: Doctor Jacques Salembier draws a line under forty years of medicine in Cape Town

Le docteur Salembier fermera son cabinet à la fin du mois de mars, au grand dam de ses patients. MIDI LIBRE – OLIVIER RAYNAUD

The office on rue des Corsaires will permanently close its doors at the end of March. After seven years of vain searches, there will unfortunately be no successor, leaving a thousand regular patients waiting.

This Thursday, closing day of the office, Jacques Salembier, 75 years old next June, has all the time necessary to devote to us to look back on his forty years of practicing medicine in Cap d’ ;rsquo;Agde.

Work 7 days a week, even at night

"I moved in on May 1, 1984" remembers the former student of the Faculty of Medicine of Lyon. "Initially, I wanted to work for six months in Cap d’Agde and six months in the mountains, but we were finally forbidden to do so. So I stayed here."cThe station was built about ten years ago and doctors Pigno, Laporte and Fourcade already have their plates firmly screwed in place. Suffice to say that the competition is real. "The first years were not easy", recognizes Jacques Salembier. "I worked seven days a week, even at night, since we accompanied the firefighters at the time, including when leaving nightclubs. That was medicine."

The distrust of Agathois doctors of the time

At a time when native Agathois sometimes observed those from Cape Town with an inquisitive eye, the arrival of a doctor from outside was not necessarily well received by the profession . "The Agathois doctors took seven years to shake my hand", remembers the practitioner. "When we opened the office on rue des Corsaires, we invited our colleagues to an aperitif, no one came! "

A certain conception of medicine

With the upcoming departure of Jacques Salembier, it is also a certain idea of ​​medicine that is fading away. “General medicine is primary care medicine, including for emergencies”, he thinks. Children, adults, gynecological exams… the doctor has always defended this everyday medicine, which is so lacking today in certain territories. "All this will disappear”, thinks pessimistically, the practitioner. "Today it’s Doctolib, a reason, a consultation, a patient. For me it’s business, more than medicine. I don't know if the French realize that we (general practitioners) are going to disappear while in Agde for example, there is everything to work well, with a scanner, an MRI and private clinics not far from ;rsquo;here which refer to urology or ENT."

"Too much work" for young doctors

He has been looking for a buyer for the firm for almost seven years. Doctors came, saw, left. “I don't blame them, no young person wants to take over with the way we work. The criticism is always: “there is too much work.” " And it’s true that the days are long, as can be the waiting, since we come here without an appointment. "If I have to take 45 minutes to tell a patient about cancer, I do it and the others wait their turn, it's not more complicated."

The office transformed into an apartment

The 80 m² which can accommodate two doctors with all the amenities, will therefore close its doors in a few weeks, for lack of a buyer. "We're going to break everything up and make an apartment out of it", regrets Jacques, who will now be able to fully devote himself to his passion for genealogy.

He says he is “anxious” for his patients

Jacques Salembier follows around a thousand patients all year round, "without the tourists" , he specifies. Patients who will have to find a new doctor in the coming months, which is never easy, including in Agde, where practitioners have been retiring for years now. "I won't hide from you that I am anxious about what they will become. I even have grandmothers who cry in the arms of my wife (Marie-Josée, who often acted as medical secretary, Editor's note) because they feel so helpless." The doctor follows entire families for forty years, which obviously creates bonds. "They will find themselves in impersonal structures, without empathy", he thinks, regretting that “new generations have lost this notion of general medicine."

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