Denis Safran, chief medical officer of the BRI: “At Bataclan, I immediately understand that the situation is going to be dramatic”

On November 13, 2015, he was the first doctor to enter the Bataclan behind the men of the Antigang. As the trial of the Paris attacks opens on Wednesday, Denis Safran, chief medical officer of the research and intervention brigade (BRI) confided in CNEWS.

A rare testimony and a strong word. During this interview, carried out by journalists Karima Benamrouche and Sandra Buisson, the doctor explains in particular that he understood “immediately” that the situation would be “dramatic” that evening in view of the disorder and the numerous victims on the ground.

Another memory that comes to mind: these terrible words, spoken inside the Bataclan, by the person in charge of the assault column when it took place at the entrance to the pit.

“The column chief opens the door, looks and says something that struck me and that I still have in my ears: ‘we are going to go, we are not all going to come back,’” remembers Denis Safran. “At that time,” he says again, “many victims came out with wounded and the column chief said to me: ‘stay there, do what you have to do, you will come back after’.”

The reason for this split in the organization? the health professional recalls it himself. “The role of the doctor in such a unit,” he told CNEWS, “is to take care of the wounded, starting with the wounded in the unit.”

From there, and while the men of the BRI go into battle, Denis Safran therefore has only one objective: “that of putting as many victims as possible to shelter, of having them taken care of. as quickly as possible by the emergency services. “

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“What struck me the most was the youth of the victims”

A mission that is carried out completely blind, without knowing at any time where the terrorists are precisely, or how many or how they are organized. And another threat looms: that of places that could have been trapped by the Islamists.

But we must act. Now is more than ever time for action to save the victims. And for that, a medicine of the most urgent, of war even, is set up. “The medical instrument that I mainly used that evening was a pair of scissors to cut clothes,” explains Denis Safran.

And faced with the lack of stretchers, it is also necessary to improvise, explains the chief medical officer of the BRI. “From there I got the idea: to use these metal barriers which serve to channel the queues”. A saving resource that has undoubtedly helped many victims.

But of that terrible night, the strongest memory of Denis Safran, “what struck him the most, he said, was the youth of the victims”. “They were victims who were all of age or were younger than my children,” explains this seasoned and still moved health professional.

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