By: CECÍLIA PIRES
FARO HOSPITAL has ordered an internal investigation following the death of a patient with Down’s syndrome. José Nunes, 36, died from heart failure on December 2 after a month in a number of inpatient units at that health facility.
The case has been reported in a number of national newspapers, leading to Mendes Bota, the Algarve MP for the Social Democratic party, to begin a petition that will be sent to the president of the Portuguese parliament.
Faro Hospital’s Administration Board released an official statement on December 7 stating that the case was to be “immediately investigated” to “clarify any doubts about the conditions in which the patient was treated and died”.
Faro Hospital’s Clinical Director told The Resident “that further clarification about the case will be made as soon as the inquiry is concluded and a meeting is held with the patient’s relatives”. According to Helena Gomes, “if the relatives give us permission to access the patient’s personal data” the hospital commits to making a public statement about the case.
Mendes Bota, who was motivated to start the petition based on the relatives’ testimonies, has asked for an urgent investigation by the Ministry of Health.
In a document sent out to several entities, Mendes Bota says: “The patient died a month after entering the hospital, allegedly with a bone infection”, although his family suspect that he was later infected by a lethal virus spreading in the hospital.
He also questions the conditions in which José Nunes was treated as his first three days in hospital were spent “on a hospital trolley in a corridor of the Emergency Room without any assistance and was unable to express himself due to his disabilities. This was then reported to the Hospital’s Clinical Director who ordered for him to be transferred to another unit”.
Mendes Bota asks that the patient’s family members are contacted during an official investigation, because only they will be able to confirm if they were contacted by the services to explain the patient’s disabilities, his clinical record and to help with communication.
For the MP, it is also crucial to clarify if disabled patients taken to public hospitals are treated the same as other patients, if their limitations are taken into consideration and, therefore, if they are better protected.
Finally, he questions if this “brutal and unexpected” death is a reflection of the “third-world working conditions” at Faro Hospital, where, he points out, “there is a great risk of virus contamination for all its patients, as well as the staff”.
For more information about Faro Hospital, visit http://www.hdfaro.min-saude.pt/site/index.php. This website is in Portuguese only.
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