A drunk doctor who killed a British mum by shoving a breathing tube down her throat instead of windpipe has been jailed for three years.
Helga Wauters, 51, killed Xynthia Hawk during a procedure in which she was with with a blood alcohol level equivalent to that of 10 glasses of wine.
Ms Hawk, 28, had been admitted to the maternity ward of Orthez hospital near the southwestern city of Pau France, on September 26, 2014.
After going into labour, Wauters, who was less than two weeks into a new job as an anaesthetist, gave her a local epidural before leaving the hospital.
However Wauters, who was found guilty of manslaughter, was asked to return to give the mum-to-be a general anaesthetic after complications arose during the birth meant she needed an emergency C-section.
During the procedure, Wauters inserted a ventilation tube into Hawke’s food pipe instead of her windpipe.
She also allegedly used an oxygen mask instead of a ventilator.
Ms Hawk woke during the procedure and began to vomit and shout “it hurts” before ripping the tube sout.
Medics on duty at the time said the scene was like a “warone”.
Tragically, Ms Hawk died four days later after her brain was starved of oxygen and she went into cardiac arrest.
During the trial, Wauters admitted to being a chronic alcoholic who said she started every day for the past 10 years with a mix of vodka and water.
But she denied being being solely responsible for Hawke’s death, insisting that other staff were also to blame and claiming that the ventilator was not working at the time.
When taken into custody, Wauters was found to have alcohol content in her blood was found to be 2.38 grammes per litre, which typically corresponds to close to 10 glasses of wine, and is more than four times the permitted level when driving in France.
The anaesthetist had moved to France for work after being fired from her previous role in a Belgian hospital for appearing drunk at work.
A recruitment agency responsible for hiring her had not checked her credentials, the investigation revealed.
Wauters was ordered to pay nearly €1.4million (£1.3million) in damages to Hawke’s relatives.
Ms Hawke’s partner Yannick Balthazar said: “Justice has set an example for this type of doctor who, in my eyes, is not a doctor.”