Trapped in the House of the Beautiful Sleeping Athlete
February 27, 2014 6:02 PM   Subscribe

This is the story of Jean-Pierre Adams, the French international footballer who as part of surgery was given anaesthetic that should have knocked him out for a few hours. 32 years later, he is still in a coma.
posted by Admira (9 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:58 PM on February 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

Well. That sucks.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:16 PM on February 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Years ago I heard stories (because Reasons) of a patient in a hospital near me who suffered through an awake intubation because the anesthesiologist couldn't find a vein to get the 'sleep now' juice into their body correctly. Awake intubation. Horrible stuff. Turns out it happened to more than one person. Nightmarish.

I hadn't realized just how much this story had affected me until recently I found myself needing to go under for some fairly routine surgery. One by one I had a parade of people through the pre-op room asking me, "Hi, so can you confirm your name? And what are you having done today?" [side note: if you can say 'laparoscopic cholecystectomy' without hesitation most nurses will stare at you with a look that says, 'okay, smartass'.] One by one I talked to various nurses and then my surgeon and then the anesthesiologist came in and asked if I had any questions.

"Well, yeah. I'm nervous. I heard these stories" blah blah blah awake intubation et cetera. She looked aghast, just absolutely aghast. "Nothing like that has ever happened at this hospital," she reassured me.

"Yeah," sez I, "but how do you know I'm really knocked out?"

She gave me a look that was a blend of 'you asked' and 'I'm a professional who does not shirk the hard questions' and said,

"We will know for sure when you're under because you will stop breathing."

oh hey that's great, totally fine, thanks for the no bullshit answer, doc. Appreciate it. Well, is that the 'sleep now' juice flowin? Sure is. Goodnniiiii-

and then I woke up and my gall bladder was gone and my faith in anesthesiologists was absolutely restored.



I can't express enough how much I feel for this man and his family. I am not in the habit of hoping for a miracle but if ever one were deserved it's for this guy.
posted by komara at 7:25 PM on February 27, 2014 [12 favorites]

FTA "Life, such as it is, continues for Bernadette and Jean-Pierre. Hospitals cannot commit staff to looking after Adams for long periods of time, which prevents his wife from taking holidays. Each day Jean-Pierre is washed and dressed by Bernadette, who maintains that her husband still has some cognitive function."

I like to believe I love my wife the way this woman loves her husband, but the bar she is setting is Saintly.

Thanks for posting this Admira.
posted by vozworth at 7:30 PM on February 27, 2014 [8 favorites]

Pierre Huth, Adams's former doctor at PSG, led the case, which went on for seven years before the Seventh Chamber of Correctional Tribunal in Lyon found the doctors guilty of involuntary injury. It was only at that point that the family's dues could be calculated, yet four years later a definitive decision had still to be made.

This seems kind of out of date if it is from the time of the disaster. Twelve years and no decision is an appalling long time to wait but it is now 32 years later. There must be some resolution to this that isn't filled in. How long and what were the details? It seems weird to bring it up and then not fill it in.
posted by srboisvert at 7:56 PM on February 27, 2014

I noticed that this is an extract from The Blizzard magazine, which I wholeheartedly recommend to others who enjoy long form writing on football. Especially as it is based on a pay-what-you-want model.

The Blizzard Previously.
posted by all the versus at 8:37 PM on February 27, 2014

The poetic name his wife gave to the specially-built home deserves more explanation – La Belle au bois dormant is Sleeping Beauty. Le Mas du bel athlète dormant is a lyrical play on that.
posted by fraula at 1:55 AM on February 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

I know, anecdote is not data but I have a very unfond memory of waking up HULK SMASH ANGRY after they PROMISED they were not putting me under. Then again, I've had delicate procedures done without any local pain meds and those weren't fun either.

I wonder if this is going to be added to the pile of "why socialized medicine is evil" crap. Crap happens but geeze.
posted by tilde at 3:39 AM on February 28, 2014

The poetic name his wife gave to the specially-built home deserves more explanation – La Belle au bois dormant is Sleeping Beauty. Le Mas du bel athlète dormant is a lyrical play on that.

Given that it includes part of my name i am compelled to correct you. While it is loosely translated to 'Sleeping Beauty' it is actually 'Beauty in the wood sleeping' or 'Beauty sleeping in the wood' so her house name is an even closer play on the french title.
posted by srboisvert at 5:37 AM on February 28, 2014

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