Jean-Pierre Adams, who made over 20 appearances for France, fell into a vegetative state after a minor knee operation in 1982.
Following a ligament rupture injury, the defender was booked in for a routine surgery at the Edouard Herriot Hospital in Lyon and was expected to leave in the following days.
However, the operation went wrong and a hospital trip that was meant to keep Adams out of football for a few months instead left him in a coma for the rest of his life.
During the surgery there had been an issue with Adams’ anaesthetic, while a cushion used to prop him up had also slipped without medical staff noticing.
The error with the supply of anaesthetic caused the footballer to suffer a bronchospasm, starving his brain of oxygen and leaving him in a coma.
On the day of Adams’ operation many staff at the hospital in Lyon were on strike. The anaesthetist was left to look after eight patients at the same time and the former Nice centre-back was supervised by a trainee, who later said: “I was not up to the task I was entrusted with.”
Numerous errors made by the hospital staff led to Adams’ cardiac arrest and brain damage and the defender was left in a coma in hospital for 15 months before his wife, Bernadette, took him home to care for him herself.
Adams had spent the last 39 years only able to open his eyes and digest food following the failed surgery, while it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the medical staff involved were published - a one-month suspended sentence and a €750 fine.
Adams’ former club Nice - who he made over 100 appearances for during the 1970s - have said they will pay tribute to the France international before their next home game against Monaco on September 19.