Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Health

Troubled man plunges to death while in hospital

By Angelos Anastasiou

A 73-year-old patient at the Nicosia General late on Tuesday plunged to his death from his room’s window on the third floor, while nurses looked for him in order to hand him his discharge note, news reports said.

According to the daily Phileleftheros, the man had a history of mental disorder, which included a suicide attempt.

As a result, on admission to the hospital – for pathological symptoms unconnected to his psychological history – he was subjected to a psychological evaluation that would determine whether he should be observed by a nurse on a 24-hour basis and placed in a secure room, in which windows are locked and sealed.

The evaluation, according to the hospital’s head Petros Matsas yesterday, revealed no such need and no additional precaution or safety measures were taken.

“Unfortunately, it turns out that this man required closer observation,” he said. “The evidence suggests that he jumped out of his ward room’s window on the third floor, to his death.”

Tragically, several hours earlier, his attending doctors had prepared his release note as his treatment had been concluded, but nurses had been unable to find him until late at night, when one nurse spotted him lying on the ground floor atrium.

The 73-year-old was rushed to the emergency room, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Matsas said the circumstances surrounding the event will be investigated further as it “constitutes a very serious incident, which cannot be overlooked.”

“A man losing his life in such a way requires the most detailed investigation,” he said.

“It appears to be a straight-forward case of a man with a history of mental disorder that included suicide attempts, but we must look for any errors of judgment in his treatment or gaps in his observation during his hospitalisation, in order to fix them,” he added.

Health minister Philippos Patsalis issued instructions yesterday to investigate the incident.

“It is an extremely sad incident, and instructions for a detailed investigation into its circumstances have been issued,” he told the Cyprus News Agency.

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