US court refuses to award compensation to transplanted woman

A French judge on Friday dismissed a young woman who had both hands transplanted in the United States in 2016, ordering her to pay back more than a million dollars from social security.

“The payment of care provided abroad is a simple option only for social organizations, exceptionally and after a favorable opinion from the medical control”, the Paris Court of Appeal in its decision overturns the previous court decision.

The plaintiff, Laura Nadoff, had four legs amputated in 2007 at the age of 19 due to septic shock. In 2013, he was on a list of patients waiting for a transplant in a research program at the Georges-Bamboitout General Hospital in Paris.

But health officials did not renew the program’s accreditation, and the young woman was placed on “temporary contraindication” in early 2016. He then decided to undergo surgery in the US on the suggestion of his surgeon. Lantieri is known as one of the pioneers of face transplant surgery.

In February 2016, health insurance denied coverage, but the young woman underwent surgery at Penn Medicine Hospital in Philadelphia, which billed her for $1.13 million.

In the first instance, in July 2021, a Paris court overturned a refusal to provide health insurance and ordered payment of two-thirds of the amount claimed. But the latter appealed.

“Without ignoring the fact that at that time there was no other service that could accommodate her and that she sought a foreign team to benefit from double transplant treatment (…), it is appropriate to say that the Social Security Court can. Do not change the assessment of the funds bound by the unfavorable opinion of the medical control, the reimbursement of the care provided abroad to decide on”, argues the Court of Appeal.

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