Former France international soccer star Jean-Pierre Adams has died at the age of 73 after spending 39 years falling into a coma following an anesthesia error during routine knee surgery at Lyon Hospital.
In 1982, Adams was administered a near-fatal dose of anesthetic ahead of a routine knee operation, which caused brain damage.
The Dakar-born Adams had won 22 caps for Les Bleus in the 1970s, forming with Marius Tresor what was known as “the Black Guard”. On Monday, September 6, 2021, he passed away at the Nimes University Hospital.
Paris Saint-Germain, one of Adams’ former clubs, announced his death Monday in a statement on its website.
“His love of life, charisma and experience quickly brought respect,” said the club.
It also sent condolences to Adams’ family and his wife, Bernadette, who cared for Adams at their home in the suburbs of Nîmes, in the south of France.
According to Paris Saint-Germain, Adams was born in Senegal and left for France at age 8. He turned professional in 1970 and played for several clubs over the next decade, including Nîmes.
“The Club offers its most sincere condolences to his loved ones and to his family,” Nîmes Olympique said in a tweet translated from French.
According to AWM:
Adams was thirty-four years old when he went in for knee surgery. He had already won twenty-two international caps in the name of his country, France. And he was confident the surgery would be quick and painless. He said he felt like he was in “great shape” ahead of the surgery. Nevertheless, the doctors misjudged the process and forced the star into a coma that lasted more than half his life.
Doctors did not know that they’d given him a damaging dose of anesthesia until when he simply did not wake up after the surgery. The doctor who was supposedly working on his knee was working on eight patients concurrently, which put the soccer star in danger since he had a problem with his anesthesia.
“It’s all fine. I’m in great shape,” he reportedly told his wife, Bernadette, on the morning of the operation. As far as anyone is concerned, these were his final words. He had two boys with his wife, Laurent, and Frédéric. She has stood by his side ever since he never woke up from the surgery.
“Jean-Pierre feels, smells, hears and jumps when a dog barks. But he cannot see,” Bernadette said in 2007.
Bernadette, who had two sons with Adams, told the BBC in 2016 that despite the sentences handed to the anesthetist and the trainee, the hospital in Lyon had never apologized.
Many staff members at the hospital were on strike at the time, the BBC reported. The anesthetist was looking after eight patients, and Adams was supervised by a trainee.
Because of several errors in his care, Adams suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage, sending him into a coma from which he would not wake up.
In the aftermath of the surgical mistake, Adams’s case was brought to the courts, where it was fought over for seven years. The Seventh Chamber of Correctional Tribunal in Lyon found the doctors guilty of involuntary injury.
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