Drunk, anesthesiologist allegedly killed a woman during childbirth

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On September 26, 2014, “like every day“in the morning for” ctry to tremble“, Helga Wauters starts her day drinking vodka, then bucks in the afternoon and evening.

Six years later, Helga Wauters will be tried. The Brussels anesthesiologist is appearing on Thursday and Friday before the Pau criminal court for causing the death of a woman in 2014, asphyxiated during her cesarean delivery at the Orthez maternity hospital. She admitted to investigators to be “unable to go to the OR without drinking“.

The defendant, hired a fortnight earlier, had administered an epidural to the young woman who had passed her term, then had gone out to take “a glass of rosé“with friends. But the delivery being complicated, a cesarean section became necessary. Helga Wauters, who smelled of alcohol on her return, had intubated into the esophagus instead of the trachea, causing the patient to wake up and pain. full operation under general anesthesia. Xynthia Hawke died on December 30 from lack of oxygen. Her baby survived. In police custody, four days after the tragedy, the anesthesiologist presented 2.38 grams of alcohol .

This tragic picture contrasts with the journey of a woman who had everything to succeed. Born to a gynecologist father and an economics professor mother, she joined the national field hockey team and continued her medical studies until her doctorate in anesthesiology. But over time, Helga Wauters starts drinking, especially after a romantic breakup.

From 2009, she must be admitted to rehab. Depressed, she quits. After a second cure, she found a job at the Soignies hospital in 2012. She was dismissed a few months later: called for a caesarean, her colleagues noticed that she had been drinking. Return to treatment. Then to work. But in February 2014, asked for the installation of an epidural during a cesarean, she once again proved unable to perform this gesture due to drunkenness. She is fired. Strangely, none of these very serious incidents were reported to the Belgian National Order of Physicians. A few months later, she will be hired in France without any verification of her CV.





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