By George Psyllides
A post mortem on a nine-month-old baby who apparently died from meningitis will be carried out on Sunday, the health ministry said, four days after she died, with state pathologists saying they could not do the procedure citing lack of the necessary equipment.
The post mortem will be carried out by state pathologist Aggeliki Papeta. The two other pathologists said it was too risky to carry out without the proper means.
The procedure had been requested by the parents who were not convinced that bacterial meningitis was the cause of death.
Christos Flourentzos, the father, reiterated that pathologists had tried to dissuade them from having the procedure, but meningitis has not been recorded in any statements as the cause of death.
“We want it to be done as soon as possible so that we can bury our child,” he said.
The health ministry had secured a court order on Thursday asking the pathologists to carry out the procedure or face legal consequences.
Health ministry permanent secretary Christina Yiannaki assured the parents that the procedure would be carried out on Sunday.
Minister Philippos Patsalis rejected the pathologists’ claims.
Such post mortems, he said, were done frequently across the globe, not just Cyprus, whose infrastructure and equipment was better than some other countries.
Patsalis said it was not possible for the disease to be transmitted from a dead person to a live one, unlike HIV, Ebola, and mad cow disease, which can survive between 24 hours and three days after death.
“State officials cannot refuse to provide a service citing reasons that are not valid medically or legally,” the minister said.
House Health Committee chairman Coastakis Constantinou said the pathologists’ actions were going to be discussed in parliament.