Doctors on trial for hospital deaths

THE TRIAL against an anaesthetist and an ex-clinical director for the death of two patients at Lagos General Hospital in 2004 started at Lagos Court on Tuesday.

The victims, Albertina Fátima Estevão, a 44-year-old woman, and Rui Gonçalves, a 35-year-old man, died on March 29 and March 30 respectively (See The Resident edition, April 16, 2004) after they had suffered cardiac arrests following the administration of anaesthetics for minor routine surgeries.

In June 2004, a Ministry of Health enquiry rejected allegations about the quality of the anaesthetic chemicals administered to the patients and blamed their deaths on the anaesthetist Maria de Jesus Lima and clinical director Pimenta de Castro.  However, the Ordem dos Médicos, Order of Doctors, maintained its confidence in the two health professionals, basing its decision on a technical report from a specialist college that raised suspicions about the generic anaesthetic, Propofol, which was used.

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