The Medical Malpractice Death of Charles II of Navarre

Charles II, or Charles the Bad, was King of Navarre from June of 1350 until his death in 1387. Navarre was a region resting beside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France. His life came to a tragic and strange end on New Years Day of 1387 when the King was accidentally burned alive. How is someone accidentally burned alive, you ask? In King Charles' case, it was due to doctors orders and a nurse's small mistake.  Unable to move his limbs and plagued by habit, the doctor ordered Charles to wrap himself head-to-toe with brandy-soaked cloths. His nurse obliged and stitched the ends of the pungent fabric together, tying knots at the end to secure her work. A small thread remained at the end of the stitching, so she decided to take the flame of a candle to the thread instead of scissors. Apparently, the reaction of alcohol and fire wasn't well known in 1387. The flame absorbed the brandied cloth, setting the King alight. Some anecdotes claim that Charles perished in the flames while others state he survived, but only for another day or two.  It appears as though medical negligence has been in effect for centuries. Poorly executed doctor's orders and no safety rules in place were the cause of death for Charles the Bad. Luckily, the King's successor, Charles III, lived a long and healthy life. A flameless life. Co-written by Elise Childers for DaultLaw.

Charles II, or Charles the Bad, was King of Navarre from June of 1350 until his death in 1387. Navarre was a region resting beside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France. His life came to a tragic and strange end on New Years Day of 1387 when the King was accidentally burned alive. How is someone accidentally burned alive, you ask? In King Charles' case, it was due to doctors orders and a nurse's small mistake

Unable to move his limbs and plagued by habit, the doctor ordered Charles to wrap himself head-to-toe with brandy-soaked cloths. His nurse obliged and stitched the ends of the pungent fabric together, tying knots at the end to secure her work. A small thread remained at the end of the stitching, so she decided to take the flame of a candle to the thread instead of scissors. Apparently, the reaction of alcohol and fire wasn't well known in 1387. The flame absorbed the brandied cloth, setting the King alight. Some anecdotes claim that Charles perished in the flames while others state he survived, but only for another day or two. 

It appears as though medical negligence has been in effect for centuries. Poorly executed doctor's orders and no safety rules in place were the cause of death for Charles the Bad. Luckily, the King's successor, Charles III, lived a long and healthy life. A flameless life.

Co-written by Elise Childers for DaultLaw.