Comatose for 21 years, Spanish man has legal case reopened

17th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's Supreme Court Wednesday ordered the reopening of a highly publicised case in which a man slipped into a coma 21 years ago during cosmetic surgery, court sources said.

The parents of Antonio Meno, 42, who has lived in a vegetative state since a nose operation in 1989, have camped outside the justice ministry in Madrid for the past 16 months along with their son after they were forced to sell their home to pay 400,000 euros (540,000 dollars) in legal costs, Spanish media said.

The anaesthetist at Meno's operation has denied accusations of negligence leveled by the family, saying he had choked on his own vomit following the surgery in a private clinic in Madrid.

A Madrid court convicted the anaesthetist of negligence in 1993, but that decision was later overturned.

But a doctor who was present at the surgery recently came forward to state that the "accident" had taken place during the operation when the anaesthetist was out of the room and Meno's oxygen supply tube was undone.

As a result, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the case reopened.

"The rulings handed down in this case are annulled and a new trial is ordered to take into account the declaration of a new witness," the ruling said, according to the court sources.

© 2010 AFP

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