In April 2020, seven days after a teleconsultation which would not have established the correct diagnosis, a man would have died. His family filed a complaint on April 26 for manslaughter, and wants to start a debate on telemedicine.

The family lawyer, Me Hervé Gerbi, denounces a “serious medical error” following an “incomplete (remote) interrogation” of the doctor vis-à-vis the patient, a 40-year-old man suffering from ‘cancer and severe obesity.

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A “fungus on the tongue”

On April 20, 2020, in full confinement because of the Covid-19, Jean-Christophe Allemand declares via interposed screen “an abundant thirst, a white tongue and fatigue for several days”, explained on April 26 the lawyer during a press conference, alongside the victim’s mother and partner.

The doctor diagnoses a “fungus on the tongue, something quite common”, but the symptoms continue and on April 27, his partner Elise David finds him almost unconscious at home.

He died the next day at the Grenoble hospital “from a banal diabetic decompensation”, which is detected “with a simple blood test”, assures Me Gerbi.

“A bad diagnosis”

The same day of death, the father of Jean-Christophe – deceased since – wrote to the President of the Republic to report the death of his son “following a bad diagnosis” which he links directly to the teleconsultation.

Would the outcome have been different with an office consultation? The family is convinced of it. The practitioner’s questions, who was not her attending physician, were “very focused on the symptoms of Covid-19”, recalls her partner, who attended the teleconsultation.

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Me Gerbi regrets “a stupid death” because the symptoms of diabetes, which had not been diagnosed before, were according to him easily identifiable. He therefore filed a complaint on April 26 for manslaughter against X in the name of the family, because the health crisis “cannot be a legal umbrella for a medical error”.

The teleconsultation in question

“Beyond this death there is the question of the use of this teleconsultation”, which has been generalized but which is “not valid for all patients”, he continues.

The complaint “should allow doctors to take up the issue”, hopes Me Gerbi, who calls on the Council of the Order to launch the debate on the relevance of this practice.

In 2020, 19 million remote medical procedures were reimbursed by Social Security, against barely 320,000 over the previous 18 months, at the start of reimbursement for this practice.