He died in the hospital only because there was no team of specialists on the weekend

A 29-year-old man died at São José Hospital in Lisbon because, as the hospital told the deceased’s mother, “it was bad luck that he (chose) to have a brain aneurysm on Friday, because there was no team of neurosurgeons available over the weekend.”

In other words, in Portugal you have to choose the right day to have an aneurysm, the best thing is to call the hospital before it happens to make sure you have an appointment with the doctor. (sarc.)

As usual in Portugal, the case was closed without finding any culprits and no indemnification was given.

The following article is a translation. You can find the link to the original website at the end of it.

Girlfriend tells about David Duarte’s last days. There was no emergency neurosurgery team to treat an aneurysm in São José.

A man died on December 14th at the Hospital de São José, according to Correio da Manhã this Tuesday, after three days in hospital awaiting surgery for a brain aneurysm, due to lack of a complete team to perform neurosurgery during the weekend.

The 29-year-old man’s mother told the newspaper that he was admitted to Santarém hospital on Friday, the 11th, with headaches, partially paralyzed and unable to speak. He was transferred to Hospital de São José, in Lisbon, where he awaited surgery until Monday for what would be a brain aneurysm. He would end up dying before the surgery could be performed, despite it being scheduled for the 14th.

A family member told Correio da Manhã that doctors at São José regretted the fact that the aneurysm happened on Friday, as there was no complete team to perform neurosurgery over the weekend.

To Diário de Notícias, the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central (CHLC), to which Hospital de São José belongs, confirmed that weekend prevention of vascular neurosurgery has been suspended since April 2014. As weekend prevention is voluntary regime, some specialists chose to stop doing so, due to changes in remuneration regimes.

Although there are two neurosurgeons at São José Hospital 24 hours a day, emergency neurosurgery for aneurysms is “highly specialized,” a CHLC spokesperson told DN, and requires a “specially qualified” team to perform it “with satisfactory results”.

Girlfriend tells what happened

Elodie Almeida recounted the moments from when David Duarte, aged 29, began to feel unwell and became “paralyzed on his right side and unable to formulate sentences”, until he was transferred to Hospital de São João and waited for surgery to a brain aneurysm that could only happen on Monday due to lack of team to carry it out.

“He tried to speak but was unable, he could only scream and cry”, writes Elodie Almeida, 25 years old, in a text published by Expresso. David Duarte had to be transported by wheelchair and at Santarém Hospital he received news of the seriousness of the problem: “They announced to us, in a separate room, that David had had a cerebral hemorrhage and a large hematoma and would have to be transferred urgently to the Hospital de São José, in Lisbon. I just had time to give him a kiss. He opened his eyes and I told him: ‘They will take care of you’.”

Once in São José, they explained to their girlfriend and family that the blood had spread to the brain “and that, generally, these emergency cases would have to be treated immediately“. “But as the doctors said, unfortunately it happened to be on a Friday, so there wouldn’t be a team of neurosurgeons over the weekend. David would have to wait until Monday to undergo surgery.

They gave me to understand that the blood spread throughout his brain could, most likely, cause sequelae and later multiple strokes”, the text reads.

The family and Elodie considered asking for a transfer to another hospital, where David Duarte would have the possibility of undergoing surgery over the weekend: “From what I understand, the best option was without a doubt Hospital São José and it would not be appropriate to transfer him.”

On Sunday, the 29-year-old man was placed in a medically induced coma after his condition worsened overnight. On Monday, Elodie called São José several times to find out the result of the operation.

The answer was that it hadn’t been done and that he should go to the hospital. It was then that his girlfriend and family were informed that David Duarte “had been brain dead and that it would be irreversible.

More related news

Hospital Center opens investigation into more deaths due to lack of doctors

The board of directors of Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central opened an internal investigation today to determine whether more patients with ruptured aneurysms died at the São José hospital

The board of directors of Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central opened an internal investigation this Thursday, December 24th, to determine whether more patients with ruptured aneurysms died at the São José hospital due to a lack of specialists to operate.

“In light of the news coming to the public today about the deaths of patients with ruptured aneurysms, the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central (CHLC) informs that the board of directors has opened an internal investigation process to investigate the facts reported”, says a statement from the CHLC.

The weekly Expresso and the newspaper Público said today that the death of David Duarte, in the early hours of Sunday, caused by the lack of neurosurgeons to operate on him was not a unique case, with a hospital source telling Expresso that, since 2014, four more patients with aneurysm ruptures will have died due to the lack of specialists at the weekend.

Reacting to today’s news, the Secretary of State for Health, Manuel Delgado, said, in Chaves, that the authority is “investigating and confirming”

whether four more deaths occurred at Hospital São José, in Lisbon, due to lack of assistance.

( … )

More related news

David died waiting for surgery: investigation was archived

Public Ministry archives investigation into the death of an aneurysm victim in 2015

The Public Ministry (MP) closed the investigation into the death of a young man at Hospital de São José, in Lisbon, in 2015, while waiting for surgery for a brain aneurysm, the District Attorney General’s Office (PGD) of Lisbon announced today.

“The MP ordered the filing of the report for the crimes of refusing a doctor, medical-surgical interventions and treatments and negligent homicide against health professionals and political decision-makers”, said the PGD, on its official website.

On December 14, 2015, David Duarte, aged 29, died at Hospital São José, victim of a brain aneurysm due to an alleged lack of specialized medical assistance.

Following this, the presidents of the Regional Health Administration of Lisbon and Vale do Tejo (ARSLVT), the Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central and the Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte resigned.

Regarding political and civil or administrative responsibilities on the part of regional or sectoral leaders and administrations, the MP understood that they result from an “act or omission in the performance of a position or function and not from an illicit, culpable and punishable act”.

“Regarding health professionals, none of the medical procedures carried out (whether during the assessment or during hospitalization) resulted in any indication that they had violated the leges artis”, he highlighted.

The prosecutor’s office revealed that the investigation was led by the MP in the 6th section of the Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP) in Lisbon.

A country where criminals and the powerful are systematically protected to the detriment of victims and its citizens is the definition of a dictatorship, which is why Portugal should leave the EU.


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