Usually when somebody talks about having a drink to take the edge off, it’s entirely sensible and maybe even not the worst idea in the world. But there’s taking the edge off and then there’s telling the folks who are investigating the death of the woman you killed by putting the breathing tube into her esophagus instead of her windpipe that you weren’t drunk, you were just operating at 70% of what you usually do and that you need vodka so you don’t shake while you’re working.
When Wauters turned up for police questioning a few days later she had 2.16g/L of alcohol in her blood, while the legal limit for driving in France is 0.5g/L.
Wauters, licensed to practice since 1999, admitted she’d been drinking before the botched procedure and has since been charged with manslaughter.
“The night of the incident, I drank half a 50cl (500 ml) bottle of a mixture of vodka and water. I was not drunk, I was at 70 percent of my capacities,” investigating judges quoted Wauters as saying during a recent hearing.
She added: “I need vodka so that I don’t shake.”
She also admitted to suffering from “a pathological alcohol problem.” At her home, investigators found 17 empty bottles of vodka.
Well, at least she recognizes there’s a problem.
In a statement I actually agree with, her lawyer says that while her client fully intends to own up to the things she’s responsible for, she’s not the only one at fault here. I shouldn’t have to explain why since it seems so obvious, but somewhere there has to be a healthy helping of blame for whoever made the decision to let someone so clearly hammered touch anybody let alone perform any sort of procedure on them. Sure hospitals are stressful environments and sometimes you have to work with what’s around, but when what’s around is a loaded doctor that might just kill someone it’s time to start making some phone calls and changing your surroundings.