Dr Pereira's whistleblowing made it on to national news two nights running this week
Dr Pereira's whistleblowing made it on to national news two nights running this week

Faro Hospital ‘dismisses’ young doctor who alleges surgical blunders

But support online gains traction: “Diana opened Pandora’s Box”

The explosive story, alleging a catalogue of surgical errors at Faro Hospital, continues to gather momentum today, as Público reports hospital bosses have dismissed the young whistleblowing doctor who lodged a formal complaint about two surgeons.

Director of surgery Martins dos Santos explains that Diana Carvalho Pereira “can only exercise medicine under the supervision of a specialist” but as “none of the surgeons want to mentor her” her dismissal has been the only option.

The young surgical intern has admitted that she would have resigned anyway. “I don’t want to work at a hospital like this one. When I made my complaint, my intention was to resign straight away, but then I thought I could not be harmed by this whole story. I am waiting for the position of the General Medical Council”.

Carlos Cortes, president of the General Medical Council, has said that a commission composed of independent experts will be analysing the alleged 11 cases of negligence, while a team from his council will be visiting the hospital for an ‘urgent evaluation’.

The public prosecutor’s office has already opened an official inquiry as a result of Dr Pereira’s complaints – and Faro Hospital appears to be conducting its own internal inquiry.

Público however says the hospital ‘refutes the existence of medical error’ already – in spite of its having told other journalists that is has “no knowledge of any of the cases denounced by the doctor”.

With all that being said in through mainstream media, online support for Diana Pereira is resounding.

Diana has opened Pandora’s Box. If forces of pressure do not close it, and if investigations are serious, this case will reach unimaginable proportions. To the shame of those who always knew and did nothing…”

This quote, cited by the Algarve regional press, comes reportedly from another doctor who claims to know the surgical service at Faro Hospital “very well”, both as an anesthesiologist and as a patient. 

She attests to “unbelievable situations” which she claims to have reported to management on several occasions.

For 10 years I saw several surgical colleagues arrive, most of them from Coimbra, excellent in surgical knowledge and techniques. One by one they left. For mediocrity to reign, the followers have to be mediocre”.

As Algarve Postal explains, of the hundreds of commentaries gathering over social media, several are from health professionals who support what they say is an act of courage “without precedent in Portugal”.

The online actually carries many of them.

One message reads: “Congratulations for your courage. You are not the first to suffer abuse and bullying in an Algarve hospital, there is a colleague who also suffered in Portimão and even attempted suicide about 3 years ago and ended up quitting almost at the end of the internship. Stay strong; if only there were more interns in the country like this; the dignity of patients has to be respected!”

As a footnote, dismissal was also the fate of two other surgeons who blew the whistle on alleged malpractice at Amadora-Sintra hospital earlier this year – even after an investigation concluded that yes there had been issues (albeit these issues were presented as “correctly carried out procedures in the face of incorrect diagnoses”).

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