Penafiel A&E hospital

Death of elderly woman in Penafiel A&E to be investigated

Hospital has already said “woman was at end of her life”

Portugal’s General Inspectorate of Health Activities (IGAS) has opened a clarification procedure to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of an elderly woman on Tuesday in the emergency department of the Padre Américo Hospital in Penafiel, writes Lusa

In a written response sent questions submitted by the news agency, IGAS said that the inspector-general had decided, by an order issued on Thursday, to open a process of clarification.

This clarification comes after Porto Canal reported the death of the pensioner while waiting on a stretcher for observation.

On Wednesday, also in a statement sent to Lusa, Penafiel hospital indicated that the woman, aged around 80, who had been triaged with an orange bracelet, was “at the end of her life”.

“The patient was at the end of her life and had no clinical criteria for any invasive resuscitation manoeuvre,” said the hospital.

In the same statement, the hospital specified that the patient was admitted to the medical-surgical emergency department at 19:16 underwent Manchester triage at 19:19 and died at 20.06, “after clinical assessment”.

In the information sent to the Lusa news agency, the hospital acknowledged that the emergency department was “under enormous pressure“, with the number of patients admitted to the service reaching 85 on that Wednesday morning.

“These circumstances make it very difficult for the service to function, not only because of the overload of work but also because of the space limitations that restrict normal operation,” it said, stressing nonetheless that “the actions taken would have been the same in different circumstances”.

According to the Nurses’ Association, the hospital’s emergency department was facing a chaotic situation on Wednesday, with dozens of patients waiting to be attended – a situation that could have contributed to the woman’s death.

“The situation is chaotic because the hospital doesn’t have the capacity, with this peak of the flu pandemic,” Miguel Vasconcelos, president of the Northern Regional Board of the Nurses’ Association, told Lusa. (This is the first time the flu epidemic has been characterised as a pandemic, but ‘flu experts’ are constantly stressing another pandemic is around the corner). ND