Outrage as surgery for Faro pensioner with “aggressive” tumour cancelled at last minute

Lack of anaesthetists available in the Algarve has been behind the latest “disgrace” highlighted by national media, involving a 70-year-old pensioner told to go home when he was already on a hospital gurney at Faro Hospital.

Eduardo Gabriel has aggressive prostate cancer, writes Correio da Manhã, and was told last month that he needed urgent surgery.

With the day marked last Tuesday, his family thought everything would go ahead as planned.

But instead, the sick patient was told to go home the same day, as there were no anaesthetists available to operate.

Arriving early in the morning, he had spent the whole day waiting to be operated – only receiving the bad news at 3pm.

Hospital boss Dr Pedro Nunes has tried to shed some light on the issue.

“We have constantly complained about our lack of anaesthetists, but this also comes from the way operations are scheduled down here.

“The day’s surgeries are set out to run until 8pm. This leaves very little space for manoeuvre if one operation runs overtime, let alone if two or three do.

“This is what must have happened here – and the patient is certain to be operated on as a matter of priority any day now.”

Algarve has 36 more doctors than it did in 2011

Dr Nunes added that he thought we were calling him about the questions in parliament recently by PCP communists on doctor shortages in general in the region.

“They seemed to be coming up with a story that we have less doctors now than we did in 2011. It’s all a nonsense,” said the health administration boss who is coming to the end of his bumpy tenure.

“We actually have 36 more doctors working in the region now than we had when the last government took over in 2011.

“It is not enough,” he added. “We need at least 200 more. But it is not the ‘86 doctors less’ that has been publicised elsewhere.”

Dr Nunes’ departure from the Algarve – something he has always said he planned once the October elections were over – has been widely publicised by other regional news media. But the punchy Lisbon ophthalmologist is still at his desk, fielding day-to-day problems and receiving the occasional “thumbs down” bloops in national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Surprisingly buoyant, he has taken them all in his stride, telling us that the last thing he heard was that no-one actually wanted the job he has been holding down, despite multiple calls for his resignation, since 2012.

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