Doctor faces negligent homicide charges

A doctor practising at a private hospital in the Algarve has appeared in court this week, facing a charge of negligent homicide.
If found guilty, the Bulgarian doctor, who has been in Portugal for 20 years – according to RTP news – and works for the Hospital Particular do Algarve, could face up to three years in jail.
The case, which was widely discussed over social networks when it first broke, centres on the death of young nurse Vera Alves, who haemorrhaged to death during what was meant to be “a small surgery” to her ovaries at the Alvor private hospital.
Dr Madlen Youssif Benun, who told the court that she has already performed more than 100 similar operations, is accused of making “a mistake that resulted in lesions in large blood vessels”.
Specifying the location of the lesions, Correio da Manhã describes the “aorta bifurcation and two cuts to the right iliac artery”.
The incisions are alleged to have caused “intra-abdominal haemorrhage and laceration of the liver”, leading to the tragic death of a young woman with dreams of becoming a mother.
The Public Prosecutor (Ministério Público) contends that the doctor “did not follow the adequate technical procedure” for the operation, either through “lack of care, or inability”.
Consulted on the case, the doctors’ association Ordem dos Médicos is also reported to have had doubts on the procedure.
Vera Alves’ husband, Jorge Filipe, has been “unable to accept” what happened to his 27-year-old wife, he told television news reporters this week outside Portimão Court.
Since her death in 2011, he has been fighting to see “justice done”. Talking to reporters on Tuesday, he claimed his wife had never been warned of the risks of her surgery.
Filipe’s lawyer, João Grade told Lusa news agency last year that he is going to ask for €500,000 in compensation from both the doctor and the Alvor hospital – the latter being “civilly responsible” for the nurse’s death, he claims.
Meantime, the gynaecologist, who was trained in Lisbon and lists her languages as Portuguese, German, English, Bulgarian and Russian, is understood to remain in active practice at the hospital’s Faro base at Gambelas.
Contacted by the Resident on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for the hospital group said it was against company policy to comment in this kind of situation. “I am sorry, I am not entitled to give any information,” she told us.
The trial continues.
[email protected]