Faro Hospital

Two Faro hospital surgeons suspended pending malpractice inquiry

Suspension follows complaints by young doctor Diana Pereira 

Two surgeons at Faro Hospital have been preventively suspended for six months following allegations of malpractice made in April by a 27-year-old medical intern, the chairman of Portugal’s general medical council (Ordem dos Médicos) has confirmed today.

“This is a preventive suspension since there are strong indications of malpractice”, Carlos Cortes has told Lusa news agency.

According to Cortes, this suspension – which is public through a notice from the chair of the OM’s southern region disciplinary board – covers the director of the service, as well as another surgeon at the hospital.

At issue is the complaint made to PJ judicial police made in April by doctor Diana Pereira who posted over social media about “11 cases of “error/ negligence” in Faro’s surgical service, between January and March this year.

According to Pereira, of the 11 cases reported, three patients died, two were in intermediate care at the time, and the rest had injuries associated with the alleged medical errors.

Cortes also confirmed that the suspension is “obviously for the safety of patients”, but also to allow the OM disciplinary council to continue to develop internal procedures of analysis of the various cases reported by Dr Pereira.

In parallel, the OM has created an independent commission, composed of five surgeons who “are analysing in a more thorough way, from a technical and scientific point of view, all these cases”, he said.

“Once they have all this information compiled, they will send it to the disciplinary council so that, with more accuracy, they can evaluate and, if necessary, apply the appropriate sanctions”, he said.

According to Lusa, Cortes “congratulated the excellent work done” by the south region’s disciplinary council, which demonstrated “great rigour and a speed that is unprecedented” in such situations.

“The disciplinary council, in an autonomous and independent manner, will continue, I believe, to analyse these cases and will then have to give further indications about the conclusions of this process,” he added.

At the time of Dr Pereira’s complaints, the health regulator ERS and IGAS (Inspection of health activities) announced they too would investigate the alleged negligence in Faro Hospital’s surgical service to “fully clarify” the situation.

These complaints have led the public prosecutor’s office opening an inquiry, which is being conducted by the department of investigation and penal action (DIAP) in Faro. According to reports, Doctor Pereira is due to be heard by the Public Prosecutor in this regard next week.

Contacted by Correio da Manhã tabloid about the suspension of the two doctors, Dr Pereira said she was “happy to see institutions doing their jobs”. When this story broke, the young medical intern’s complaints were not ‘well received’ at the hospital, and she claims she was dubbed “crazy”, and even warned that she could be interned under mental health legislation.

Source material: LUSA/ Correio da Manhã