Regarding the compensation of medical accidents, the Kouchner law of 4 March 2002 put in place a compensation mechanism for patients when the identification of the liable party is not possible. This mechanism, said to be of national solidarity, applies in particular when the harm caused to the patient following a medical accident, an iatrogenic effect, or a nosocomial infection has abnormal consequences on the patient’s health.
In a judgment of 31 March 2001 (appeal 09-17135), the French Supreme Court defined the notion of abnormal consequences. The judgment rejected the appeal of the party representing the patient and ruled that the bleeding complications which rendered the patient paralysed were not “abnormal” given the patient’s health at the time of the operation (history of vascular diseases) and the foreseeable evolution of their health.
Therefore, the injuries suffered by the patient were not to be compensated by national solidarity, and consequently by the national office for the compensation of medical accidents, iatrogenic effects and nosocomial infections (ONIAM in French).