French police are investigating an anesthesiologist in connection with 24 cases of poisoning that occurred while patients were under during surgery. Investigators allege that Frederic Pechier, 47, tampered with medical equipment so colleagues would administer dangerously high levels of local anesthetic or potassium to patients undergoing minor operations. According to investigators, Pechier allegedly would step in to revive the patients after they went into cardiac arrest in order to show off his skill as a doctor. Nine patients died as a result. Pechier worked at two private clinics in Besançon, eastern France, and was reportedly a highly regarded doctor in the region. However, public prosecutor Etienne Manteaux told reporters that the doctor was in “open conflict” with fellow anesthesiologists at one clinic around the time many of the incidents occurred. Pechier, who denies the allegations, faces life imprisonment if convicted. A judge is expected to rule on the matter by the end of the month.
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