No justice for families of Lagos

THE FAMILIES of the victims who died following “anaesthesia accidents” at Lagos Hospital are revolted by the decision taken this month by the Ministério Público (MP) of Portimão to file the cases.

On receiving the MP’s letter, Maria José Alves, who lost her son following a routine operation to remove a sebaceous cyst at Lagos hospital on March 30, 2004, said: “I know it won’t bring back my son, but at least justice should be done.”

The mother of 35-year-old Rui has shown signs of deep suffering every day since her son’s untimely death and, since receiving the letter, her state of grief and consternation has worsened. “I lived for my son.He was my happiness, my light and

my reason for living.I have suffered a lot and no one concerned themselves to find out how I was or provided me with any support,” she says, berating the hospital and the authorities.

Rui’s father, Manuel Gonçalves, remains indignant, but is not surprised that the case has been filed. “It’s normal, there is a hidden climate of immorality in this country, I expected nothing more than immoral actions like these. I sorely regret the lack of dignity with which people are treated.”

Despite their pain, the couple are promising that they will not sit back. “Our lawyer is dealing with all this and doing everything possible to have this case re-opened,” explained Maria José.

The results of the autopsy carried out at the Instituto de Medicina Legal in Portimão, confirm suspicions that the death was a result of problems relating to the anaesthesia administered pre-surgery. The Inspecção Geral de Saúde (IGS), that investigated the case, pointed to human error and blamed the anaesthetist and the clinical director of the hospital.

The MP decided to archive the legal case, but apparently two disciplinary cases are still pending at the IGS and decisions are awaited.

The family of the other victim, Albertina Estevão, are also reported to be, “revolted” by the decision taken by the MP and are also in contact with their lawyer to have the case reopened. According to the law, they have 20 days to appeal the decision.