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AG appeals suspension of doctor’s prison sentence

Larnaca court

Attorney General George Savvides has filed an appeal against a Larnaca district court decision to suspend the prison sentence handed down to a doctor who was found guilty of causing death by negligence of a ten-year-old boy.

The attorney general’s (AG) office announced on Thursday that it will appeal the court’s decision on the case, which led to Dr Iraklis Pantelidakis receiving an 18-month suspended prison sentence.  Another doctor, who headed the A&E department and faced a similar charge, was acquitted.

The AG has now moved to appeal both court rulings.

The case centres on the death of Stavros Giorgallis from Klavdia who was taken to Larnaca hospital’s A&E with head injuries sustained after falling during a basketball game at school in Alethriko.

Pantelidakis, who had been on call at A&E, discharged the boy a few hours later, but his mother took him back to hospital later in the day as he continued to have severe headaches.

The boy was transferred by ambulance to Nicosia general hospital, where he died during surgery.

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.


The defendant’s 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.

In handing down sentence, the court ruled on June 10 that it had taken into account Pantelidakis’ clean criminal record, his age and marital status, and the impact the incident had on his career and personal life, “also considering how deeply he was scarred by this tragic event, which caused him severe depression”.

The court also considered statements by the doctor’s lawyer, who spoke of public humiliation, threats and ridicule directed towards him in the aftermath of the incident, she said.

Regarding the circumstances of the offence, the court considered the risk the doctor incurred when reviewing the child’s X-rays himself without consulting a radiologist, “a common but admittedly bad practice at Larnaca hospital A&E”.

 

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