State doctors’ union Pasyki condemned on Friday the rude behaviour of a Nicosia general hospital physician towards an elderly patient, but said that as long as there is lack of staff and doctors are pushed to the brink of exhaustion ‘unpleasant situations’ are a possibility.
The union in a written statement expressed sorrow for the ‘unfortunate incident’ at Nicosia general hospital’s accident and emergency department. Such incidents, the union said, are offensive whether they come from patients to doctors or vice versa.
The union said that neither doctors or patients are to blame for ‘the rupture between the sacred relationship’ that must exist between them in state hospitals and that ‘understaffing and burnout, lead to unpleasant situations’.
Pasyki called for ‘true reforms’ to help restore the doctor-patient relationship.
Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis said on Thursday he had ordered a disciplinary inquiry into an A&E doctor at Nicosia general hospital who is heard on video being rude to an elderly man who went to the department saying he had had a stroke.
In a statement, the minister said he had ordered an investigation into a doctor allegedly implicated in an incident regarding improper behaviour towards a patient and his family.
The minister urged patients visiting public hospitals to report any incident they felt insulted their dignity.
The Cyprus Third Age Observatory also condemned the incident and called on the medical association to take measures to prevent similar behaviour in the future.
“It is inconceivable, no matter the workload, for the elderly and their relatives to be ridiculed by anyone who does not realise that in addition to being a competent doctor, you equally have to have sensibilities and ethos,” the group said.
The incident, which was reported in the daily newspaper Phileleftheros, took place last week.
An elderly man is seen in a partially-blurred video lying on a bed groaning, after coming in with his family reportedly with stroke symptoms. Shortly after he starts to groan the doctor arrives and he is heard on the video being sarcastic, asking the relatives whether he was suffering from psychological or psychiatric problems.
He then makes a crude remark concerning the ailment as the colloquial Greek term for it, kolpos, is identical to the word for vagina.
“Only women have kolpos,” he replies to the man’s wife, after she tells him what her husband’s problem is.
Later in the video, he is heard shouting at another patient, who apparently threatened to report him.
“Report me anywhere you want, and if you want I will give you the minister’s number.”