Mr Frédéric Péchier was known as a star anaesthetist at his Besançon clinic. However, French prosecutors surprisingly charged him with deliberately tampering with his colleagues’ anaesthesia pouches to create an emergency and show off his talents. In this manner, he would be responsible for the death by poisoning of no less than 17 patients.
Althrough Mr Péchier denies all allegations, he faces a life sentence if a court finds him guilty.
His lawyer, Mr Jean-Yves Le Borgne, stated: “There is a possibility that Dr Pechier committed those poisonings but this hypothesis is nothing but a hypothesis,” said Mr Borgne. “The presumption of innocence must be stressed.”
This week he was questioned by police about 66 cases of cardiac arrest during operations on patients who were considered low risk. The latest accusations are from these cases, involving patients aged four to 80.
Prosecutor Etienne Manteaux told local media that Mr Péchier had been “the common denominator” in each instance, and had been in open conflict with colleagues.
“He was most often found close to the operating theatre” when the cases occurred, said Mr Manteaux, and had made quick diagnosis on which action to take, “even when nothing allowed anyone to suspect an overdose of potassium or local anaesthesia”.
Mr Péchier continues to deny the claims. During a press conference, he stated: “Whatever the outcome of all this, my career is over.”
“You cannot trust a doctor who, at one point, has been labelled a poisoner… My family is broken and I am afraid for my children.”