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Jean-Pierre Adams: Former French footballer dies after 39 years in coma

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The former France defender Jean-Pierre Adams has died at the age of 73, almost 40 years after falling into a coma as a result of a medical error, his former clubs, Paris St-Germain and Nîmes, said on Monday.

In 1982, Adams was administered a near-fatal dose of anaesthetic before a routine knee operation, which caused brain damage.

In a statement, PSG said Adams’ “joie de vivre, charisma and experience commanded respect”.

Nice said the club would pay tribute to Adams – who won 22 caps for France between 1972-1976 – before their next home game against Monaco on 19 September.

Adams also made 84 appearances for Nimes, who said they were sending their “most sincere condolences to his loved ones and his family”.

On the day of Adams’ operation to repair a damaged tendon in his knee – suffered while on a coaching training camp – many staff at the hospital in Lyon were on strike.

Adams went in for routine knee surgery - but never came out of hospital for 39 years

Adams went in for routine knee surgery – but never came out of hospital for 39 years Credit: Getty

His operation still went ahead, with the anaesthetist looking after eight patients, including Adams, at the same time. Adams was supervised by a trainee, who later said: “I was not up to the task I was entrusted with.”

Between the anaesthetist and trainee, numerous errors were made, causing Adams to suffer a cardiac arrest and brain damage.

It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the anaesthetist and trainee were punished – a one-month suspended sentence and a 750 euro fine.

Adams was discharged from the hospital after 15 months and had been cared for at home in Nimes by his wife, Bernadette, ever since.

Adams and his wife Bernadette had two sons together, Laurent and Frederic.

Adams and his wife Bernadette had two sons together, Laurent and Frederic.

Speaking to CNN about the time her husband went in for the knee surgery, Bernadette said: “The female anaesthetist was looking after eight patients, one after the other, like an assembly line.

‘”Given it was not a vital operation, that the hospital was on strike, they were missing doctors and this woman was looking after eight patients, in two different rooms, someone should have called me to say they were going to delay the operation.”

The defender was born in Senegal, but went on to play 22 times for France

The defender was born in Senegal, but went on to play 22 times for France Credit: AFP

That never happened, and Adams suffered a cardiac arrest when a tube was placed blocking his lungs.

Bernadette added: “I found him lying on a bed, tubes everywhere.

Adams had just made the move into coaching with Dijon when he decided to get his knee looked at Lyon Hospital.

After a seven-year battle in the courts, the doctors at the hospital were found guilty of involuntary injury.

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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