On March 6, 2017, a 45-year-old medical anesthetist was indicted, suspected of having premeditated and intentionally poisoned seven patients between 2008-2017, two of whom died, at the Saint-Vincent Clinic and the Franche-Comté Polyclinic in Besançon, France.
Some « unexplained incidents » occurred during surgery on January 11 and 20, 2017 which led the Saint-Vincent Clinic’s management to file a complaint against unknown persons. A similar complaint had been filed after three patients had been received, following heart attacks, at the Franche-Comté Polyclinic in Besançon, where the same doctor had practiced for a short time in 2009. The Polyclinic explains that “an internal medical investigation was initiated due to the circumstances of these serious events” and that they had notified the Regional Health Agency before filing a complaint against an unknown individual.
None of the seven patients, ageing from 37 to 53 years old, had any “particular predispositions or history of problems”. According to the French State Prosecutor the poisonings were not “accidents”; she mentioned “severe and corroborating evidence” and “extremely serious facts”. She explained that the toxicology tests performed on the deceased patients, “revealed high levels of potassium or anesthesia, at lethal doses.” The nature and the doses “deliberately” injected in the IV bags “where they had no reason whatsoever to be present” clearly indicate that these “can only be defined as deliberate acts to provoke the patients’ deaths”. The two patients who died following heart attacks in 2008 and 2016 were a 53-year-old man having kidney surgery, and a 51-year-old lady with a fracture. Neither of them seemed “predisposed” to an accidental injury nor had any kind of “specific vulnerability.” The State Prosecutor also added: « This case will require a number of expert evaluations and even more victims may be discovered”.
The anesthetist’s lawyer refutes “any poisoning whatsoever”, saying his client “spends his life reanimating patients, not killing them”.
Pending the completion of the case, the anesthetist was released under court supervision, is forbidden to practice his profession, and had to post 60,000€ bail. The prosecution, who had requested that he be placed in pre-trial detention, will appeal his placement under court supervision.