A doctor who was found guilty of medical negligence that resulted in the death of 10-year-old Stavros Giorgallis will be sentenced on June 10.
GP Eracles Pantelidakis was last week found guilty by Larnaca district court of failing to properly examine the head X-ray of the boy, who later died from his injury.
At the same time, the court acquitted doctor Kyriakos Kyriakides who had faced a similar charge of medical negligence as the then head of the accident and emergency department of Larnaca general hospital. Both had pleaded not guilty.
The defendant appeared before the court on Thursday where defence counsel Yiannis Polychronis argued in mitigation of the sentence. He said his client planned to appeal his conviction. The doctor had come to Cyprus in May 2018 with his wife and children to take up employment at Larnaca General Hospital. The unfortunate incident with young Stavros, which radically changed his life, had occurred only two months later, he said.
“The defendant went through difficult, unprecedented times and is devastated by the loss of the young child, as Stavros died in his hands and he lived the dramatic moments of his death.”
The lawyer also referred to the way the defendant had been treated by the media, society and social media posts and said that after the tragic incident, he could not work to support his family. Since his conviction by the court on May 20, he is reliving the traumatic experiences of four year ago.
Mitigating factors cited by the lawyer include the period of time that has passed since the offence, his personal circumstances and the deficiencies in the general health system – Gesy. He suggested any prison sentence be suspended, on the grounds of the defendant’s clean record, his personal circumstances and the repercussions his imprisonment would have on his patients.
And he said the medical community in Cyprus considered it unfair that the defendant, who at the time was a general doctor at the A&E of Larnaca General Hospital was found to be the only person responsible for the tragic death.
In its 146-page judgement, the district judge had said the defendant misdiagnosed the child’s imaging test. The doctor had concluded the child had a mild head injury and discharged him.
Dr Pantelidakis’ treatment was reckless and dangerous, the judge had said, adding that he evaluated the child’s x-ray hastily, superficially and incorrectly, without consulting a radiologist.
The boy from Klavdia was injured after falling at the basketball court of Alethriko primary school during PE on May 11, 2018.
He was rushed by his mother to the A&E of Larnaca general hospital, from where he was soon discharged.
A few hours later, was taken to the same hospital again with severe headaches and reduced consciousness. From there, he was transferred to the Nicosia general hospital where he died during surgery.