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French doctor charged with poisoning patients

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French doctor charged with poisoning patients
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AFP
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An anaesthetist in France is suspected of poisoning patients during surgery to trigger heart failures and then heroically bring them back from death's doorstep.

On nine occasions, however, prosecutors allege Dr Frederic Pechier failed, resulting in people dying.

Pechier denies the charges.

Besancon prosecutor Etienne Manteaux told reporters on Thursday of evidence linking Pechier to 24 out of 66 suspicious incidents that happened during surgical proceedings at the clinic where he practised.

“Mr Pechier appears as the common denominator for these unfortunate and serious events that seem related to an acute conflict with other anaesthetists or surgeons at the Saint-Vincent clinic,” Manteaux said.

Pechier, 47, is suspected of injecting lethal doses of potassium chloride or anaesthetics in perfusion bags during benign surgeries.

Manteaux said that the charges against Pechier "rest on a beam of concordant elements" and the case rests on circumstantial evidence as the doctor was not caught in the act but added that Pechier was the only physician present during all the incidents where traces of poison were found.

Pechier has admitted criminal acts were committed at the clinic but said he was not responsible for them, according to the prosecutor.

Pechier, who faces a life sentence, has denied any wrongdoing but the prosecution has asked that he be kept under arrest ahead of trial.

“Doctor Pechier rejects all the charges brought against him,” Pechier’s lawyer Randall Schwerdorffer told reporters. “We challenge anybody to show us any evidence.”