Complete chaos in Faro state hospital’s casualty unit made news headlines over Christmas as at least three formal complaints have been presented to hospital authorities.
The upsets began after midnight (on Christmas Day morning) when urgent cases, involving people desperate to be attended, saw “nothing happening”.
Mário Castro – whose young son had been vomiting blood and who had been triaged “orange”, meaning “very urgent” – confronted a member of staff.
The man told him he “might have to wait (to see a doctor) until the morning” – which left Castro seeing red.
“I lost it”, he told reporters afterwards.
The furious father “came close to punching” the man, and suddenly found himself surrounded by security guards.
Police were called, and they “almost arrested” him, he told Correio da Manhã outside the hospital on Christmas Day.
“I decided to get back in my car and go to the Hospital Particular, where they treated my son the way he should have been treated here”, he said.
Castro’s outburst was completely understood by everyone waiting to be attended.
Patient José Vieira told SIC television news: “It was a disgrace. For two hours nothing happened at all. People were sleeping, people were crying. It was an outrage”.
Inquiries as to the whereabouts of medical staff were met with the answer that “no one knows where the doctors are”.
Three people have since presented formal complaints to the CHA (Algarve hospital centre) administration, which has explained the situation stemmed from a doctor calling in sick too late for rotas to be changed.
As soon as a new medical team clocked in for the next shift, the backlog of cases was dealt with, added a statement put out by the administration on Christmas Day.
Elsewhere, other hospitals up and down the country have suffered staff shortages, with patients waiting up to five days for certain “urgent” operations, adds CM.
And in Lisbon, the hospital authority for the city’s central hospitals has opened an inquiry into allegations that as many as five patients died due to neurosurgical staff shortages at weekends.