By George Psyllides
A baby boy, whom doctors at Paphos general hospital failed to detect during his mother’s twin pregnancy, died during the birth, a post mortem showed on Tuesday.
“The death is perinatal,” state pathologist Sophocles Sophocleous said, adding that tissue and blood tests would also be carried out.
The story that shocked the island emerged on Saturday, after the 22-year-old mother reported to police that her gynaecologist had failed to diagnose a twin pregnancy, which ended in one stillbirth.
The woman had given birth to a healthy baby boy at around midnight Friday, but it later transpired that she had been carrying twins.
The mother told police that neither she nor anyone else had been aware that she had been carrying twins.
The post mortem was carried out by two state pathologists, Sophocleous and Nicos Charalambous, with former state pathologist Marios Matsakis taking part on behalf of the family.
Matsakis said the baby died during birth, adding that specialised tests would be carried out to confirm this.
He censured the state of the hospital, saying it was unacceptable for such incidents to take place in a hospital of an EU member state.
The health ministry has launched an investigation into the matter expected to be completed on August 30 while police launched their own separate investigation.
The health minister has already dismissed the female gynaecologist who had been employed on a temporary contract that was going to expire on November 15.
“There was no other choice left to the health minister,” permanent secretary to the minister Christina Yiannaki said on CyBC’s main nightly news programme.
The ministry had already been concerned about her prior to the particular case based on notifications from her superiors, she said, though there had been no official complaints.
Specifying that there was a difference between her knowledge and behaviour, Yiannaki said that during evaluations the gyneacologist was “satisfactory to very satisfactory” as far as her medical knowledge was concerned.
Matsakis called for a full investigation. “Police are already taking statements, a full investigation must also be carried out by the health ministry and the medical association too,” he said.
The pathologist added that the inquiries must also cover other aspects, such as staffing and equipment at the hospital.
As an example, Matsakis used the fact that the hospital had two ultrasound scanners, one modern and an older, inferior, model, with some patients undergoing tests on one and others on the other one.
Yiannaki however hit back during the CyBC interview saying Paphos hospital had “two modern ultrasound scanners” and other equipment that was also up to date. She said the ministry of health did not cut corners.
Following her comments, Matsakis phoned in to the news show accusing Yiannaki of lying and saying he had accurate information that one of the ultrasound machines was modern while the other was so old it needed to be thrown away. “With this attitude nothing will ever change in Cyprus,” he said before the news anchor gave him short shrift for implying the channel had not presented all of the facts.
The family who lost the baby has appointed layers Rafaela Demetriadou and Savvas Matsas to represent them. The 22-year-old mother also has a daughter, aged two.