Blood and Justice: The Seventeenth-Century Parisian Doctor Who Made Blood Transfusion History

By Pete Moore | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ELEVEN
Mistake, malice or murder?

Once more the stave struck the floor, and this time the conversations died down. In walked the presiding magistrate, the Lieutenant in Criminal Causes, Monsieur D'Ormesson.'The court of Le Grand Chastelet, Paris, will come to order on this day, Saturday, April the 17th in the year of our beloved Lord, sixteen hundred and sixty-eight,'called the official, pleased that people were at last taking some notice of him. D'Ormesson took his time making himself comfortable and the assembled people waited there was no point in having authority and power if it did not impinge on others' time and freedoms. When finally ready, he gave an expansive gesture and bow in the direction of Denis' assembled dignitaries in the gallery, before turning to the distinguished lawyer, and gently nodding his head. He finally signalled to an official who read out the charge.

'The case against Monsieur Denis, is that in the last days of January this year, he and his accomplice did unlawfully kill a patient, one Monsieur Antoine Mauroy. The accusation is that, despite protestations from learned gentlemen within the Faculté de Médecine, he performed a series of unnatural operations, transfusing blood from calves into the victim's veins. He did this not once, but three times. The day after the third transfusion being the day the patient died. The inference is clear. Denis killed Mauroy.'

'My learned and distinguished Lord, I wish to present the case for the defence,' announced Monsieur Lamoignon, Denis' lawyer, rising to his feet and bowing first to the judge and then to the gallery. There might have been no jury, but getting the right reaction from the crowd was always useful in winning a case, and a little courtesy went a long way.

'You are, I am sure, well acquainted with the opening chapters of this episode, with the remarkable cure that was given to a man whose

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