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Suspension does not mean guilt, Okypy spokesman says

The Makarios hospital

State health service Okypy said on Friday it is unfortunate for doctors to be suspended following the suspension of two doctors being investigated for medical negligence over the death of a teen in March.

“When an official is suspended, it does not mean that they are guilty, but rather that Public Health Committee has deemed it is for the public’s interest to not affect any ongoing police investigation,” Okypy spokesman Pambos Charilaou told CyBC radio.

Commenting further on the death of 15-year-old Ioanna Skordi in March, he said Okypy has also made internal adjustments so the care of children at the Makarios hospital being treated for kidney problems is not affected.

The parents of children with transplants have sent a letter to Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela complaining about the suspension of one of the doctors, who is a nephrologist at Makarios, and was monitoring their children.

Spokeswoman of the group Neophyta Kyprianou told the Cyprus Times their children have been put in danger with the suspension of the doctor, who monitored other transplant patients as well.

“Our children need specialised care, and we will do not accept that they will be monitored by a non-specialist after so many years of being monitored by the only child nephrologist that exists,” she said.

She added that it is unacceptable for their children to be treated as ‘lab animals.’

Health ministry spokesman Constantinos Athanasiou said the ministry had coordinated with Okypy to bring in two doctors that will see the children regularly and have a specialised interest in child nephrology.

On Monday, a conference will be held on the issue, and on Tuesday the health ministry will meet with the parents’ group.

In March, Skordi had undergone surgery for a kidney transplant, when doctors found she had tumours. She died a few days later on March 4.

Reports suggested the girl’s parents had asked for her to be transferred to Israel, however local doctors said this was unnecessary. Later, when health ministry senior official Christina Yiannaki was informed about the case, a doctor from Israel was contacted to come to Cyprus.

However, the girl died before she was examined by the Israeli doctor.

A preliminary investigation showed that there is possible medical negligence. The file was transferred to the legal service.

On Wednesday, the two doctors treating Skordi were suspended on half pay for three months.

The decision provides for the possibility to expand their suspension for another three months, Athanasiou told the Cyprus Mail.

The health professionals had objected to their suspension saying this is unnecessary since the case file is already before the police.

As regards the third doctor involved in the case, who is a university professor, the university’s rector will decide whether to terminate cooperation with him, the spokesman added.

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