Friday, May 6, 2011

The drama of the hormone that caused 119 deaths in France goes unpunished

Paris. .- The drama of growth hormone, a medical scandal of the 90 that caused death in France of 119 children treated for his small stature, ended with no punishment for the accused, acquitted today by the Court of Appeal of Paris. It is the second time that convictions beyond those responsible for having put on the market a product obtained from glands of illegally obtained bodies in morgues French and Eastern European countries and that contaminated the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to dozens of patients .

The Court held, as at first instance had made the Corrections in 2009, scientists did not have enough knowledge to know the consequences of consumption of the hormone could have on children. Thus, they got rid of the sentence, former head of the Pasteur Institute Fernand Dray, who developed the hormone, and Elisabeth Mugnier pediatrician, who recommended its use, the only two defendants who sat on the bench.

The court considered that it committed "no offense" and therefore were acquitted of charges of involuntary manslaughter which the prosecution had asked for jail-free compliance. The appeal went further and also absolved them of liabilities, so it will not have to compensate the victims, who have so far received 32 million euros of state.

The former president of the Association France-Pituitary Jean-Claude Job, considered the key man in the scandal, died a month before that in 2009, pronounced the sentence in the first instance, while the former head of the Central Pharmacy of Hospitals Marc Mollet died during the investigation of the Appeal.

Relatives of victims attended incredulous reading the verdict, a new legal setback for men and women who are 25 years calling for accountability for the deaths of their children. "I feel betrayed by the justice to believe that someone who has done a poor job, which has done nothing wrong, is not responsible for their actions," said Marie-Jose Ferro, who lost her son.

Visibly affected, warned of the possibility that this ruling opens the door to new medical dramas because doctors are responsible for their actions. Some of the relatives could not bear the acquittal of the accused and needed psychological support at your service by the Court. Associations began to consider taking the case to the Supreme Court for the scandal does not go unpunished.

In total, 1,698 children were treated, of which 119 have been able to link his death to the consumption of the substance, although relatives of the victims estimate that the number of people affected is higher, because the disease, degenerative and incurable, has an incubation period of between 5 and 40.

All of them were in the 80 treatment with a revolutionary product, extracted from the brains pituitary bodies. The Court has established that the extraction of the substance was made in cadavers without complying with the hygiene and control measures, sometimes in hospitals that treat patients with neurological and infectious diseases.

Aside from France, the network managers who put on the market this product went to morgues to collect Bulgaria and Hungary to the pituitary. Made between 1980 and 1988, the effects of the hormone began to be detected from the 90's, when there were the first victims. By then, this type of product was no longer produced from human glands and was replaced by a hormone made from synthetic elements, without risk of contamination of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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