SHARE
COPY LINK

HOSPITAL

Furious Frenchwoman forced to fly to US to get new hands

A French amputee has hit out at her country's health system claiming she was forced to get a double hand transplant on the other side of the Atlantic - even though France was the first country in the world to do a hand transplant.

Furious Frenchwoman forced to fly to US to get new hands
Photo: AFP
A Frenchwoman called Laura was 19 years old when a sepsis infection left her with no choice but to have her hands amputated below the elbow. 
 
Now aged 28, the woman has told how this summer she decided to get two new hands in an operation in the US rather than wait around for France to help, reported Le Figaro newspaper
 
“In France we have the medical means to do this kind of surgery. It's heartbreaking, it's maddening, it's outrageous,” she told the paper. 
 
And she's right. France is a pioneer in the field of hand transplants, and was actually the first country in the world to carry out a successful hand transplant, which took place at a Lyon hospital in 1998.
 
But the operation today is a costly one filled with administrative hurdles. 
 
Laura reportedly spent two years on the waiting list in France after going through all the administrative mazes, only to hear nothing from the hospitals. 
 
Her doctor in France said that to make matters worse, nurses hadn't even been told that they should be asking the families of the deceased whether they'd give the green light to donate the hands of their dead relatives. 
 
Eventually, the Frenchwoman was told that she had been removed from the waiting list. 
 
Deterred but still determined, she contacted a leading doctor in Philadelphia to ask for his help. 
 
By late June this year she was on the waiting list, and she got a call in late August to say there was a set of hands waiting for her. 
 
Within a matter of days she was undergoing a mammoth surgery effort – that involved 40 medical workers and took eight hours – and the Frenchwoman was able to leave the hospital last week with two new hands.  
 
By the end of this month, she will return to Paris to carry out the rest of her rehabilitation on home soil. 
 
The story has proved inspirational for at least one other amputee in France, who has added herself to the same waiting list in the United States. 
 
“It's a shame to be massacred in a French hospital and then have to head to the US to get put back together,” the second amputee told Le Figaro. 
 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

GENEVA

Is Switzerland ‘pilfering’ health workers from France during pandemic?

Officials in the Haute-Savoie area of France have accused private Swiss health clinics of poaching essential healthcare workers.

Is Switzerland 'pilfering' health workers from France during pandemic?
Health care workers from France prefer to work on the Swiss side of the border. Photo by AFP

The headline in Switzerland's Le Temps newspaper reads: “Geneva is pilfering our nurses”.

It comes from an interview with a French MP who laments how France is losing health workers to its neighbour at the height of a health crisis.

“The behaviour of some hospital administrators in Switzerland is totally unacceptable in the context of the health crisis”, Haute-Savoie’s deputy Martial Saddier said in an interview with Le Temps newspaper. 

He was referring to a practice of Swiss clinics recruiting health workers in France which French officials like Saddier says has caused a shortage of personnel in French hospitals in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saddier denounced several private clinics in Geneva for actively recruiting nursing staff from Haute-Savoie, luring them with salaries that are about two and a half times higher than those paid in the French region.

Though the phenomenon of medical workers from Haute-Savoie ‘migrating’ to Geneva is not new — 60 percent of nursing staff at Geneva’s university hospitals (HUG) live in France — Saddier said these recruitments should not happen during the pandemic. 

“While the number of infected people may be high in Geneva, Haute-Savoie is not spared either, with rates among the highest in France. We need all our vital forces”, he said.

Olivier Teissèdre, director of Hôpital privé Pays de Savoie (HPPS) pointed out that already during the first wave of Covid-19, “350 of our caregivers were recruited in Geneva, which put us in great difficulty. Today I lost 4 percent of my staff and had to shut down a night shift”.

“Now the shortage of caregivers is crucially felt because the care of Covid-19 patients is particularly heavy”, he added.

READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Swiss flags hang over protesting French ski village 

At the start of the second wave, the HPSS set up a partnership with another Haute-Savoie medical facility, the Alpes-Léman public hospital.

“But we no longer have enough employees to maintain this partnership because there is too much movement of staff toward Switzerland”, Teissèdre said.

At the start of the pandemic, an agreement was reached with the Geneva authorities to stop recruiting medical personnel from France, but this commitment only concerns public hospitals. No such pact was made with private clinics.

Laurent Paoliello, spokesperson for Geneva’s Health Department said that while HUG, which is a public hospital, has respected the hiring freeze, the canton can’t impose similar restrictions on recruitment policies of private establishments.

“However, we consider it inappropriate to loot the region next door, especially during a pandemic”, he said.

Although the Haute-Savoie officials say that private hospitals have placed ads in a local newspaper, Le Dauphiné libéré, seeking French health care workers, Geneva’s clinics deny advertising in France.

“We only recruit through our site, or on Jobup.ch, as well as on social networks”, said Magali Dauwalder, spokesperson for the Hirslanden group of private hospitals, which manages La Colline et les Grangettes clinics in Geneva.


READ MORE: Switzerland rejects further coronavirus lockdown despite 'worrying' situation 

 

SHOW COMMENTS