November 27, 2021

Suicide of a nurse: the Le Havre hospital group declared responsible, and condemned

A nurse within the Hospital Group of Le Havre (Seine-Maritime) for more than 20 years, had committed suicide in 2016. The responsibility of the GHH is established according to the administrative court of Rouen and it will have to pay nearly 360,000 euros to the companion and the children of the deceased. (©Archives/MCN)

June 24, 2016: a 43-year-old nurse from the Le Havre Hospital Group (Seine-Maritime) ended her life at her home. She had worked for over 20 years in the GHH. In a letter found near his body by his companion, the nurse questioned his working conditions to explain his action. So quickly the GHH had recognized that the work was linked to this suicide, the hearing on October 28, 2021, held at the Administrative Court of Rouen and that our colleagues from the Octopus related, had to rule on the responsibility of the GHH in this drama.

The victim’s memory is restored

The lawyer who represents the companion of the deceased and her two children, Karim Berbra explains: “Unlike private sector employees, when such a tragedy occurs in the public service, it is the community that is held responsible. But for my clients, it was important, especially because she had left a letter explaining her action, that the responsibility of the GHH be recognized. The memory of the victim is now restored. ”

It was following a reorganization within the pediatric services that the nurse, “who had already alerted about the difficulties she felt there and who had left for a time, had to return to this service. She had clearly indicated, however, that she did not wish to return there during an interview ”. Appropriate training was to be offered to him, “but that was not the case.”

Guilt after taking care of things that goes wrong

Ten days before the tragedy, in the neonatal intensive care unit, the admission and care of a newborn had gone badly. Too bad for the nurse, who was prescribed a work stoppage of several days. It was the day before returning to work that she decided to kill herself. For the court, there is no doubt that the guilt after the event on the night of June 14 to 15, 2016 was decisive: “… his suicide resulted from the feeling of guilt for having committed an error in the care in intensive care. an infant, ”said the court.

The GHH found responsible and condemned to nearly 360,000 euros in damages

But the judges don’t stop there. Me Berbra explains: “The fault is, according to the court, linked to the lack of training and to the fact that the management reassigned her to this service despite her request not to return there. The court clearly says in its judgment that the GHH ‘was guilty of a breach of its obligation of safety and protection towards the deceased’. “The hospital will therefore have to compensate the nurse’s companion and her two children” to the tune of around 360,000 euros, indicates Me Berbra; this may seem a lot at first glance, but you have to wonder how much is worth the life of a mother, of a companion… ”Me Berbra, Monday, November 15, 2021, had not had any news concerning the will or not of the GHH to appeal.

Asked to react to this decision, the management of the GHH did not wish to follow up on our requests.

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