In Remiremont, the ghosts and pains of the public hospital

At what time did Christiane L. die, on November 19, 2022, at Remiremont hospital (Vosges)? On the documents in the possession of his daughter, Karen L. (who wished to remain anonymous), the answers differ. The medical certificate written by the establishment says 8:12 p.m.; the official death certificate, 10 p.m. In the space of this hour and forty-eight minutes, a chasm of doubt and suffering opened up for Karen L., and the space of difficult mourning for this 34-year-old territorial civil servant. “At 8:28 p.m., my mother was texting my sister, she says in a brasserie in Epinal. According to the medical certificate, her resuscitation would have started at 6:52 p.m. But at that time, I was in front of her. It’s incredible. »

That morning, a few days after consulting her doctor because of chest pain, Christiane L. woke up coughing up blood. The resident of Remiremont goes to the town hospital, where the emergency department welcomes her. A blood test indicates a possible pulmonary embolism. “When we see her at the end of the afternoon in her room, I find her white and panickedrecalls Karen L. She tells me that things are bad, that she is afraid of dying. A nurse makes me understand that it’s serious. »

But, at the beginning of the evening, surprise: Karen L., returning home, receives a call from her mother informing her that she is going out. A doctor diagnosed him with a simple “irritation cough”. Karen L. will go to bed reassured. Waking up in the night is brutal: she sees the screen of her phone dotted with missed calls. His mother suffered a cardiac arrest in the emergency room.

Remiremont hospital (Vosges), February 1, 2024. The hospital's emergency department has stopped operating at night since the beginning of the year.
Administrative elements of the investigation file into the death of Christiane L. (the mother of Karen L.), at Remiremont hospital.  February 1, 2024. Administrative elements of the investigation file into the death of Christiane L. (the mother of Karen L.), at Remiremont hospital.  February 1, 2024.

For her daughter, Christiane L., 69 years old at the time of her death and with no serious history other than hypertension, should never have died that evening. “My mother was a force of nature. She was hiking, still going clubbing with her friends. » Initially in shock, Karen L. took time to analyze the elements available to her. Time inconsistencies, the absence, according to the medical certificate, of ” chest pain “, that she judges “unbelievable”, or this indication on the scanner of a “left decompensation”, a sign of an imminent risk of heart attack… For her, her mother was poorly taken care of by the Remiremont hospital. She therefore decided, in February 2023, to file a complaint for “involuntary manslaughter”.

“Lack of humanity”

She is not the only one in this situation. For a year and a half, an avalanche of complaints – more than a dozen – has fallen on the establishment, for the same reason, for “unintentional injuries” or for “endangering the lives of others”. The public prosecutor of Epinal, who did not respond to World, considered the matter serious enough to open a judicial investigation, entrusted to three judges, assisted by the Nancy judicial police. It is up to them to answer a series of thorny questions: in this multiplicity of particular cases, what part was the inevitable, the tragic? And that of imprudence, error or incompetence? Is this an extreme example of disorganization and impoverishment of the public hospital?

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