School aide banned after boy chokes to death

A court in Brittany has handed a nursery assistant a suspended six-month prison sentence after a toddler ,aged two years and nine months, who was in her care choked to death on a sweet. The sweets were labelled for children over-3 only.

School aide banned after boy chokes to death
A nursery assistant in Brittany was given a suspended six-month sentence and banned for life after a two-year-old boy choked on a sweet. A 'chamallow' sweet. Photo: S. Ramella/C. Ferrera

The court at Saint-Brieux, western France sentenced the female nursery school assistant on Thursday to a suspended six-month sentence for manslaughter and banned her for life from practising her profession.

The court heard how on August 6th, 2012, the defendant gave two-year-old Christopher half a ‘chamallow’ sweet at the nursery in Plaintel, in the Côtes-d’Armor department of Brittany.

The toddler then wandered off and played on a nearby trampoline, before collapsing after having choked on the sweet.

Neither the nursery assistant or, later, emergency services were able to revive Christopher, who died of asphyxiation.

“For us, it’s her fault that our child is dead,” Christopher’s mother Viviane Herlem told French TV TF1 on Friday.

“He was under her care, she should have been keeping an eye on him. She should have been by his side, and she had no right to give him a sweet – we had already forbidden her to give him sweets,” she added.

The ‘chamallow’ brand of marshmallow is restricted to children over the age of three, according to instructions on the side of the packet.

Christopher was aged two years and nine months at the time.

Prosecutors in the case had demanded a nine-month sentence for the nursery assistant, but the court reduced it to a suspended six-month sentence, while upholding the lifetime ban on working as a nursery assistant.

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France recalls diuretic pill after two deaths

France's health regulator has taken the diuretic medication Furosemide off the shelves after a batch of the pills were found to be dangerously contaminated and linked to two separate deaths, it was reported on Tuesday.

France recalls diuretic pill after two deaths
A 30-tablet packet of the diuretic medication Furosemide Teva; 40 mg. France's health regulator has recalled it after two deaths. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

France's health regulator on Monday recalled a diuretic used to control high blood pressure after some packets of the drug were found to contain sleeping  pills  a mistake feared linked to two deaths.

Stressing this was a precautionary measure, the ANSM regulatory agency urged people to return all boxes of Furosemide Teva 40 mg to their pharmacists.

The agency suspended sales of two batches of the drug last Friday after a pharmacist reported sleepiness in a patient.

Prosecutors opened a probe the following day after the death of a nonagenarian in the southern city of Marseille. A box of the pills from one of
two contaminated batches was found at the patient's house.

On Monday, the ANSM reported another death and one person falling ill, and said one of them had been taking the same medicine.

The agency did not specify which one of the patients, nor why it linked the other person to the case.

"Other reports are being investigated," it added.

The agency urged people to return the medicine to their pharmacist "as soon as possible"  regardless of the lot number, to be replaced by another brand.

Furosemide Teva 40 mg is a diuretic used to treat water retention in people with congestive heart failure and disorders of the liver, kidney and lung.

The drug works by increasing the amount of urine produced and excreted, and removing excess water in the body. It is also used for high blood pressure.

France has had a series of medical scares since it emerged domestic company PIP had produced breast prostheses containing industrial-grade silicone gel.

An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries are believed to have received faulty implants.

Last month, it was revealed that French surgeons had fitted 1,300 people with replacement hips not certified as meeting European standards.

Also in May, an EU medicines watchdog endorsed the safety of acne drug Diane-35, also widely used as a contraceptive, despite France suspending use of the drug which it linked to four deaths from blood clots.

France is also behind a European probe of the safety of third- and fourth-generation birth control pills, associated with a higher risk of potentially deadly thrombosis.

In April, France called for Europe-wide controls on a paper product containing bisphenol A after a domestic watchdog agency said the chemical widely used in plastic bottles and the linings of food cans may expose unborn children to breast cancer.