French surgeon faces legal action for trying to sell X-ray of Bataclan victim

Emmanuel Masmejean posted image for sale of Kalashnikov bullet lodged in arm without patient's consent

A French surgeon is facing legal action after attempting to sell an X-ray of an injury sustained during the deadly 2015 terrorist attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

Emmanuel Masmejean sought to sell the image of a forearm containing a Kalashnikov bullet without the patient's consent.

The orthopaedic surgeon, who works at the Georges Pompidou public hospital in south-west Paris, put the digital picture on sale for $2,776 on the OpenSea website, which specialises in NFT digital images. The news was first reported by the Mediapart website, which is based in Paris, on Saturday.

The head of Paris's public hospitals, Martin Hirsch, said a criminal and professional complaint would be lodged against the surgeon for his “disgraceful” and “scandalous” decision.

“This act is contrary to sound professional practice, puts medical secrecy in danger and goes against the values of AP-HP [Paris hospitals] and public service,” Mr Hirsch wrote in a message sent to staff, which he shared on Twitter.

Victims' association Life for Paris said it “stood alongside" the patient, "who is today the victim of stupidity … by a 'doctor' who has evidently forgotten his ethical code".

A second group, Fraternity and Truth, criticised the “odious behaviour” but said it was “isolated and not representative of the health workers of AP-HP in which we have complete confidence".

Mr Masmejean admitted that the sale was “an error” and said he regretted not having sought permission from the patient. He said he had personally operated on five female victims at the Bataclan.

The posting on OpenSea said the patient “had an open fracture of the left forearm with a remaining bullet of Kalachnikov in soft tissues”.

The unnamed patient is a young woman whose boyfriend was killed in the Bataclan attack, which was part of a series of shootings and bombings on Paris by ISIS, which killed 130 people.

OpenSea specialises in selling NFTs, which stands for non-fungible tokens. Using the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies, NFTs are digital assets that cannot be duplicated.

Updated: January 24, 2022, 10:16 AM