President of regional board makes ‘declaration’; does not allow questions
In another relatively bizarre episode given the situation, representatives of the general medical council travelled to Faro Hospital today to evaluate the 11 cases outlined by a young surgical intern, in which she alleges surgical blunders caused the deaths of three patients and unnecessary suffering in eight others.
Dr Patricia Carvalho Pereira is ‘long gone’, in that the hospital hierarchy has closed ranks, and she herself has said she wouldn’t want to continue working “in a hospital like this” anyway.
But instead of being open to journalists’ questions, the team that visited the hospital today took the conscious decision to exclude them.
Backed by his colleagues, Paulo Simões – president of the southern branch of the general medical council – explained: “What we wanted to do here today was to do a first sounding, to understand what is happening with the service from the point of view of organisation, speak with the board of directors and clinical director from the point of view of the management of this hospital and then speak with all the doctors in the service – both specialists and interns.
“We will leave here with more information,” he said.
“This information will be reported to a meeting we are going to hold with the independent commission that, as of next week, will be on the ground, to carry out an investigation.
“What we want is that this is quickly investigated and quickly concluded, so that we can promote, on the one hand, safety in relation to the patients that come to this hospital, and on the other, the trust that must also be established – if necessary, identifying situations that are less good, or those that need some correction“.
And that was really as far as Dr Simões, himself a general surgeon, was prepared to go.
The most curious aspect of this statement is that it acknowledges that there may indeed be situations at the hospital that are “less good” – as well as others that may need “some correction”.
Judging by the comments that have poured in over social media since Dr Pereira took her stand, this is not beyond the bounds of possibility.
But the general medical council’s investigation is not the only one ongoing into this case. There are a number of others, not least the official complaint made by Dr Pereira to PJ judicial police which has been referred to the public prosector’s office.