“I ask you to excuse me”, the trial of the emergency medical service operator begins

“I ask you to excuse me”, the trial of the emergency medical service operator begins
“I ask you to excuse me”, the trial of the emergency medical service operator begins

Her mocking tone had caused scandal: the emergency services operator who mocked Naomi Musenga on the phone at the end of 2017, a young woman who died shortly afterwards in hospital, appeared before the Strasbourg court on Thursday, where she is being prosecuted for “no assistance to the person in danger”.

Wearing a blue patterned blouse and scarf, Corinne M., 60, permanently suspended from the Samu and currently unemployed, gave her name to the judges. She is accused of “not having respected the protocols” of support “and good practices” of the Samu, according to the prosecution. She faces five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.

One of his lawyers, Thomas Callen, immediately requested that the trial be cancelled, arguing that the last document drawn up by the investigating judge at the end of the investigation remained “vague” regarding the acts attributed to his client. His request will be analyzed at the end of the debates.

“I would like to apologize for all of this. I ask you to excuse me, it was unspeakable.”

The operator then spoke: “I would like to apologize for all of this. I ask you to excuse me, it was unspeakable.”she said, turning to Naomi’s family, her mother Honorine Musenga, and her brother and sister Gloire et Louange.

Some of Naomi’s relatives wear T-shirts with a portrait of the young woman who died at the age of 22.

More than six years after the events, the holding of this trial “is a great relief”Honorine Musenga declared at a press conference the day before the hearing.

The family wants “to justice”Naomi’s sister Louange had added. “To understand” Also “what happened in this person’s head.” Glory, his brother, asked for “forgiveness” from the operator. “for what she did”a wish therefore granted from the opening of the debates.

Mother of an 18-month-old child, Naomi Musenga died on December 29, 2017 at the Strasbourg hospital after being treated with “an overall delay of nearly 02H20”, according to a report from the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs (IGAS).

Complaining of severe stomach pains, she had contacted the firefighters who had transferred the call to the emergency services. The exchange between the two operators was already taking place “in a mocking tone”noted the Igas.

“I have a terrible stomach ache”, “I’m going to die…”

“I have a terrible stomach ache”, “I’m going to die…”, Naomi then breathed, struggling to express herself. “Yes, you will die, certainly one day like everyone else”retorted the regulator, using “a harsh, intimidating and inappropriate tone when faced with repeated requests for help”, still according to Igas. Before hanging up.

Naomi was eventually referred to SOS Médecins and hospitalized, but far too late.

The exchange leaked onto social media and in the media a few months later, sparking an outcry. “Without this soundtrack, which was played many times, I’m not sure we would have had a court date.”said Jean-Christophe Coubris, lawyer for Naomi’s family.

At the end of the conversation, the operator did not pass the call on to a regulating doctor, contrary to what the procedure required in the event of abdominal pain, and did not ask “no questions” to inform “the clinical condition of the patient”, pointed out the Igas.

Counsel for the defendant, Olivier Grimaldi, told AFP in May that he was contesting these proceedings, regretting that his client’s employer or superiors had not been prosecuted.

The investigation was also opened for “involuntary manslaughter”

The long investigation was punctuated by expert opinions and counter-expert opinions.

After Naomi’s death, a first, denounced by her family, had concluded that her death was a result of a “paracetamol poisoning taken through self-medication over several days”. But another expert report suggested a digestive vascular accident leading to a hemorrhage.

The investigation was also opened for “manslaughter”. But the expert reports did not reveal any “causality link” between the delay in taking care of the young woman and her death. Naomi was already “beyond any therapeutic resource at the time of the first call to the emergency services”according to the survey.

In July 2019, 18 months after the death of Naomi Musenga, the medical regulation assistant (ARM) diploma was created, now mandatory for working in emergency medical aid call regulation centers.

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