A French Hospital Sentenced for Unreasonable Obstinacy

in European Journal of Health Law
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Abstract

On 2 June 2009, the Nîmes administrative court condemned the Hospital of Orange (France) for unreasonable obstinacy after neonatal resuscitation. On 14 December 2002, an apparently stillborn child was resuscitated after approximately 30 minutes of foetal distress. Cardiac activity was recovered, but the child has since suffered from severe disabilities. The court did not find any fault committed by the hospital regarding maternal care. However, the hospital was sentenced to compensate for the injuries caused by unreasonable obstinacy. According to the court, the medical team should have taken into account the harmful neurological consequences of prolonged foetal distress. The court did not condemn the act of resuscitation itself, but its excessive length. This court ruling serves as a basis for reflection regarding the limits by which unreasonable obstinacy should be set.

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