READING about the litany of bad behaviour being looked into concerning state doctors is akin to watching an American medical soap opera but nowhere near as funny.
Reports yesterday that have come on the heels of recent scandals are practically beyond belief. It’s as if state doctors have dropped all pretense of caring about patients.
According to the head of the state medical services Petros Matsas an administrative probe was launched into reports that a state doctor at an unnamed hospital sent naked photos to a patient.
Then there was the alleged misdiagnosis of an injured footballer at the Nicosia general hospital this week. He was sent away with painkillers when in fact he needed more than four hours of surgery for a fractured cheekbone, which he underwent the next day at a private clinic.
The health ministry has asked the Public Service Commission to suspend a gynaecologist at Paphos hospital, who reportedly refused to show up to deliver a woman’s baby when she went into premature labour. He allegedly told her the next day it was her own fault for having sex the previous night, and also gestured rudely to her when she complained.
Around the same time, a radiologist, also at Paphos, twice refused to go to work in two emergency cases, in one of which the family had to hire a private doctor that they could not afford. In the second case two days later, the same doctor refused again when she was called in at 2.30pm, which was within her working schedule, but she was already at home.
There is also apparently an ophthalmologist at the Paphos hospital who refuses to reform cataract surgeries, forcing residents of the district to travel to the Nicosia for procedures.
According to Matsas, another hospital – not Paphos this time but yet not named – spends his entire working day in front of a computer “playing with the keyboard without producing a single iota of work”.
This list of ethical, moral, disciplinary and possibly criminal offences is bad enough but it comes after the case a few months back – Paphos again – when woman gave birth to twins, one of whom died, after her doctor had completely missed the fact that she had two babies in her womb for an entire pregnancy. And don’t forget the baby in the morgue bin at Nicosia hospital six weeks ago.
All of this either means the entire health service is breaking down, or things have always been like this but the extent of it had not reached the public. How many people are dying or will die because of such behavior and whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath?
What all of the cases do have in common are top health officials beating their breasts and promising to get rid of these deadbeat doctors, yet asking for only a suspension and not dismissal in one case. And how long does it really take to find out who put a dead baby in a bin at the morgue?