The French government has been ordered to pay compensation to the family of a doctor who died of COVID-19 due to a shortage of masks. The court recognized the state’s responsibility in maintaining an insufficient stock of masks before the COVID-19 pandemic and awarded compensation to the family. This ruling highlights a “loss of opportunity” for individuals who were more exposed to the risk of infection.
The court found that the state was at fault for sending the doctor into the frontlines of the pandemic without proper protective equipment. The deceased general practitioner’s family was granted reparations, amounting to 14,000 euros for the spouse and 7,000 euros for each of the children. The State had argued that there was no negligence in stocking protective equipment or communicating the importance of mask-wearing, and that these alleged faults were not directly and certainly linked to the infection.
However, the court disagreed with the State and found that the lack of masks was relevant, considering in this case factors such as the absence of FFP2 masks in the doctor’s office. The judges also noted that a patient, who was a nurse, had brought some masks to the doctor, but it was too late as he was likely already infected.
This decision could set a precedent for other families of COVID-19 victims seeking justice. It emphasizes that individuals who were particularly exposed to the virus due to their profession may be considered as having lost a chance to avoid infection. This ruling could lead to more cases seeking compensation for COVID-19-related losses attributed to the state’s actions or inactions.