A British woman has died in France during a Caesarean section in which the anaesthetist is suspected of being drunk.
The Belgian anaesthetist has admitted to a longstanding alcohol problem and has been placed under formal investigation for manslaughter over the death of the patient.
The baby survived, but the 28-year-old woman, who lived in France and has not been named, died last Friday in Orthez in the south-west. The anaesthetist inserted a tube into her oesophagus instead of her windpipe. The woman was starved of oxygen and suffered cardiac arrest.
The investigating magistrate said that the 45-year-old Belgian is accused of aggravated manslaughter made worse by the deliberate violation of caution and security. She faces a maximum of five years in prison. When she was questioned on Tuesday she was found to have 2.16g of alcohol per litre of blood – the equivalent of four bottles of wine. The legal driving limit in the UK is 0.8g/litre.