Doctor in dock over death of 18-year-old told to “go home and sleep it off”

It has taken almost five years to get to a courtroom, but the death of a student told to go home and “sleep off a hangover” that was, in fact, a gastric perforation is at last approaching its moment of closure.

Devastated mother Ana Gaspar says she just wants “justice” and to “recover the dignity denied her son as a patient and as a human being”.

Gaspar has told journalists that 18-year-old André “fainted in her arms” after being sent home from Castelo Branco’s Hospital Amato Lusitano in April 2014.

The prosecution is expected to argue that x-rays taken during the hours André spent at the hospital’s A&E department “showed signs of the cause of death at a time when it would still have been possible to avoid it”.

Instead, André was sent home where he collapsed a few hours later.

His mother says his last words were: “I adore you, mum. You’re my heroine and warrior”. He then “closed his eyes and I never got to speak to him again…” she said.

André died from a serious infection resulting from the gastric perforation, explains Correio da Manhã.

Tests taken by the hospital after he was admitted in intense pain flagged “faint traces of cannabis” in his urine which he told both the doctor and his mother came from a joint he had tried earlier in the week.

He was not a drug user, he apparently stressed.

But the upshot was that the young man with so much stomach pain that he was unable to eat or lie down was sent home to “sleep off his hangover”, says CM.

After collapsing in his mother’s arms, he was rushed back to hospital where he was twice operated on “but it was too late”, the paper explains.

An internal inquiry was launched by the hospital. CM claims its conclusions up till now have “not been revealed”, though it is likely public prosecutors will have them.

Authorities at the Hospital Amato Lusitano say they have “collaborated with the investigation and will wait for the conclusions of the trial to act accordingly”.

The trial is due to start next month.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com