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"My life is ruined": patients target French doctor for 'botched operations'

Prosthetic limbs can help some amputees to regain a semblance, however small, of a normal life.
Prosthetic limbs can help some amputees to regain a semblance, however small, of a normal life. Benjamin Loyseau

A French surgeon has been suspended for 18 months by the National Medical Council after two patients filed complaints accusing him of performing back operations which left them handicapped.

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Known as Doctor V. from Grenoble, his lawyer says he will challenge the accusations in court.

The chief medical advisor of the social security agency in Isère found that 54 cases involving back operations performed between 2013 and 2014 were not medically justified and could have exposed patients to unnecessary risks.

Later the National Medical Council concluded that Doctor V. had not followed medical good practice during operations and in several cases had not carried out sufficient post-operation follow-up.

Christophe Fuselier, a 45 year-old former truck driver told French daily newspaper Le Parisien that his life was ruined following an operation on his back which caused a pinched vein in his leg. After ten years of infections, his leg had to be amputated.

He says he wants to prevent Doctor V from ever being able to operate again.

"My home is my prison"

Serge Gillet, 62, has taken his case to a criminal court. His operation for a hernia in 2014 went wrong and he now has to get around in a wheelchair.

"My bones are too fragile. And yet the doctor put ten screws in my back. He never should’ve operated on me. I still suffer. My life is ruined. My home is my prison."

Frédérique Bagalino, 49, was operated on for a fractured ankle. However the medical equipment used in the operation was too heavy and broke the ankle.

“I had many infections and some 40 or 50 operations to try and save my leg, but last year I had to have the lower part amputated.”

Edouard Bourgin, the lawyer for these three patients says the case has been presented to the Grenoble district attorney.

"I want a wide ranging inquiry into this doctor's activities. Indulgence shown towards him has gone on for far too long."

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