Hallyday's French surgeon mugged

13th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

A French surgeon accused of botching an operation on Johnny Hallyday was mugged in Paris, his lawyer said Saturday, as France's veteran rock idol lay in a coma in a Los Angeles hospital with his family at his bedside.

Paris - A French surgeon accused of botching an operation on Johnny Hallyday was mugged in Paris, his lawyer said Saturday, as France's veteran rock idol lay in a coma in a Los Angeles hospital with his family at his bedside.

Stephane Delajoux, who operated on the "French Elvis" for a slipped disc on November 26, was attacked by two hooded men late Friday in the well-heeled 17th arrondissement, lawyer David Koubbi said.

"Dr Delajoux was attacked extremely violently in the sight of his children," Koubi said. "He is suffering from a chest injury ... He was punched one or more times and kicked as he lay on the ground."

He was speaking after emerging with Delajoux from a Paris forensic clinic, where the 42-year-old doctor was seen with bloodshot left eye and a bandage on his hand, escorted by two bodyguards.

Koubbi called for restraint on the part of the media, which have highlighted Delajoux's chequered medical past, including fines for malpractice, despite being a favourite with stars of French entertainment.

He said his client had laid a complaint and requested police protection.

Hallyday, 66, was admitted for emergency treatment in Los Angeles on Monday, sparking concern among his legion of fans.

A media frenzy heated up Friday when the French rocker's producer quoted US surgeons as saying that the operation in Paris had been a "complete butchery."

Delajoux, who until recently was the partner of French film actress Isabelle Adjani, maintains that "there was absolutely no negligence" in the operation, according to his lawyers.

Another lawyer for Delajoux, Herve Temime, told the I-Tele television channel that the "manhunt" must stop. Blaming Delajoux for Hallyday's condition was "premature, excessive and completely inopportune," he said.

French media have resurrected Delajoux's past convictions for medical malpractice, as well as for an insurance fraud which saw him serve a prison term.

He was ordered to pay EUR 300,000 (USD 439,000) in compensation to a patient after an operation left her in a "seriously diminished" condition.

He had to pay EUR 40,000 to another patient for inadequate post-operative care, and EUR 50,000 to a third patient for an "inappropriate surgical intervention".

Hallyday's lawyer, Virginie Lapp, said meanwhile that her client was considering his options.

The singer fell seriously ill on Monday and was taken to Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. Doctors put him in a drug-induced coma as he recovered from two surgeries to deal with an infection allegedly stemming from the earlier Paris operation.

Late on Friday, Hallyday's son said he had "positive news" on his father's condition, and his press service said he was expected to be brought out of the coma early next week.

"He is very strong, it's going very well," David Hallyday told reporters after landing from a Paris flight.

And on Saturday, Line Renaud, Hallyday's godmother who is in Los Angeles, told French radio that she was "extremely confident" about his condition.

"Above all, I want to say to the French public, I am confident, I am extremely confident, I saw him, he looks good," she said, adding that he is being cared for "magnificently".

By far the most famous French rock singer, Hallyday has sold more than 100 million albums since he burst onto the music scene in the 1960s and played 45 major tours, selling out at stadiums.

He was due to go on a farewell tour from January 8.

Fans on Saturday gathered to talk and reminisce about the singer whom some compared to Michael Jackson.

The president of one fan club, 50-year-old Francis Lequeutre, said he was confident the singer would return to health.

"We know that Johnny always rises from the ashes," he told AFP in a small bar in the village of Wimille near Boulogne in northern France with about 40 other admirers of the French rock idol.

AFP/Expatica

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