In Brest, the surgeon had forgotten a “drainage blade” in the body of his patient, Brittany

The patient – at the time suffering from colon cancer, diagnosed since 2016 – was hospitalized on July 31, 2017, at the Armed Forces Instruction Hospital in Brest for “abdominal pain associated with a series of intestinal sub-obstructions”. She then underwent surgery on the same day, before being transferred to the aftercare and rehabilitation service in Landrneau on 14 August.

But ten days later, the patient was again admitted to the military hospital Clermont-Tonnerre in Brest for “severe abdominal pain”: a scanner had “revealed the presence in the abdominal cavity of a draining blade”. He therefore had to undergo a new operation to extract this “corrugated rubber” tool intended to drain a cavity.

A “guilt” unrelated to death

The applicant subsequently referred to the Brittany Medical Accident Compensation and Compensation Commission to be compensated for her damages, but she had died in the meantime, on 27 November 2018.

“It appears (…) from the report drawn up (…) by the expert (…) who was during the surgery (…) at the HIA in Clermont-Tonnerre that a draining blade was left in the abdomen”, observes the judge in the council chamber of the administrative court of Rennes with an order of 18 August 2022 just made public.

“The presence of this drainage blade, which was immediately removed (…), can only result from a failure to install the drain (…) or clumsiness during its removal”, the magistrate believes.

This “fault”, however, is extraneous, according to him, to the patient’s death: it “cannot be considered to have led to the definitive abandonment of an initially planned clinical trial”, as the patient “already had a very dilapidated state of health And that she was “reluctant to receive chemotherapy for several months.”

The injury of the family fixed in several months

In the end, only the patient’s husband and two children – then aged 20 and 24 – will be compensated. Her two sisters-in-law, on the other hand, will not receive anything: they are only “her husband’s sisters”, the judge recalls, and not her own sisters.

The administrative court of Rennes will review the file on the merits within a few months, in a collegial formation of three judges, and this time will rule on all the definitive damages of the family.

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