Ihor’s tragic SEF death: doctor faces no action

General medical council ‘archives’ inquiry

The inquiry into the actions of the INEM doctor who ‘verified the death’ of Ukrainian job seeker Ihor Homeniuk at Lisbon airport in March 2020 has been archived.

The Ordem dos Médicos (general medical council) is reported to have concluded there were “no indications of censurable error, negligence or malpractice” – despite the fact that Mr Homeniuk died lying on broken ribs with his hands tied behind his back and trousers pulled down round his knees after receiving a beating from three SEF inspectors who are now serving jail sentences.

“The discrepancy over what (the INEM doctor) saw and what the coroner who signed the autopsy attested (that marks on Ihor’s body showed he had been subjected to great violence, ruling out death by natural causes)” does not seem to have crossed any professional boundaries.

In the general medical council’s opinion the INEM doctor did what he had to do: ‘confirm’ Ihor’s death. He did not  issue a death certificate; nor did he say what had led to the death. His description of the death as ‘cardiorespiratory arrest’ was, in the end, a fitting description for what happens to everyone who dies, said the council.

Diario de Notícias has carried a long report of this decision to archive, showing that the general medical council wrote: “Cardiorespiratory arrest is always the final cause and cannot be interpreted as synonymous with ‘natural causes’ or ‘sudden death’ (…) In face of these facts, we cannot find any technical, ethical or professional anomaly in the actions of (our) colleague (…) In conclusion (…) his actions (…) were guided by professionalism, rigor, and following the State of the Art”.

This decision was made actually made a year ago. It has only appeared in the national press now.

Meantime, an inquiry led by the Nurses Order (Ordem dos Enfermeiros/ OE) into the actions of the male nurse who attended Ihor with the INEM doctor remains “in progress in accordance with the deadlines set out in the disciplinary regulation of the OE, which is why it is not finished, and as such, there is still no decision to communicate”, an OE source told DN “after insistence” on the part of the paper’s reporter.

The Portuguese State ended up apologising to Mr Homeniuk’s widow months after his terrible death, agreeing to a compensation deal of around €800,000.

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