Police said on Thursday that they received warrants to exhume and conduct a further autopsy on the body of a 15-year-old, who was reported to have died from medical negligence at Makarios hospital in March.
Police spokesman Christos Andreou said that after coordinating with the state pathologists’ department, authorities could potentially proceed to exhume the body of 15-year-old Ioanna Skordi, later in the day.
“After having asked the state pathologists, whether in the context of investigating the case it would be possible after such a long time to secure some evidence regarding a possible exhumation and autopsy on the body of the 15-year-old and after their response, decrees have already secured exhumation but also a post-mortem on the body of the 15-year-old,” Andreou said.
He added that “it is already planned to proceed with an exhumation, perhaps even within the day, and then an autopsy.”
The 15-year-old underwent surgery for a kidney transplant in early March when doctors found she had tumours. She died a few days after 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. After, 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.
Meanwhile, the three doctors involved in the girl’s treatment have been suspended in mid-October, as police continued investigations into the negligence claim.
Investigations started after the family of Ioanna Skordi lodged a complaint to the police. A preliminary investigation showed that there is possible medical negligence. The file was transferred to the legal service.
Following the doctors’ suspension, Cyprus’ medical community expressed their disappointment in the decision.
Doctors suspended from their work over medical negligence investigations in the death of a teen should not be victimised, the Cyprus Medical Association (Cyma) had said in October.
“They should not be victimised in a way that harms their scientific prestige,” Cyma said.
The group added that the doctors for several years have offered and are offering their utmost, especially under extremely difficult working conditions at the Makarios Hospital.
Also, state health service Okypy said it was unfortunate for doctors to be suspended.
“When an official is suspended, it does not mean that they are guilty, but rather that Public Health Committee has deemed it is in the public’s interest to not affect any ongoing police investigation,” Okypy spokesman Pambos Charilaou said.
But 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.’