The grim fate of French hospital whistleblowers


In September 2013 a senior doctor at a hospital in Brittany in western France blew the whistle on his hospital's violation of medical rules in allowing a private company access to named patient records. In January 2014 a consultant at the main Strasbourg hospital in the east of the country revealed to Mediapart that private patients were being given MRI scans at his hospital ahead of stroke victims in need of urgent assessment. Mediapart recently went back to see whether these problems in France's health service were being addressed, only to find that the doctors in question have been either fired or sidelined. Meanwhile the issues they brought to light have not been addressed; if anything, they have got worse. Caroline Coq-Chodorge reports.

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In January this year Professor Christian Marescaux, a neurologist at the main public hospital in Strasbourg in north-east France, accused the institution of allowing private patients to queue jump stroke victims who were in urgent need of MRI scans. Today, six months after first going public on the scandal in an interview with Mediapart (read here in French), he reflects on the character traits that led him to blow the whistle in the first place. “I don't have that way of being cool, supposedly balanced, that allows you to put everything into have to have a certain rigidity of character to be unable to bear injustice,” he says.