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October 15, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLIII(16):1150. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02500160052009

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A distinguished Paris surgeon is reported, according to the cable dispatches, to be under indictment for homicide, because he inadvertently, it is presumed, left a portion of a broken instrument in the patient's abdomen after an operation. There are many surgeons who have had a like experience, so far as the accident goes, but this is the first case in which we have heard of a criminal indictment following such an event. Civil suits are not unknown. If the French law is such as to make such oversights criminal carelessness, it will be a special inducement to greater care against the occurrence. Of course, conviction in such a case is by no means a certainty. There are others beside the surgeon who should share or take the responsibility. The engrossing nature of a capital operation, requiring almost every faculty to be at special attention to the operative details, and the

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