The recent tragedy of the death of a eight-year-old girl has brought to light the absence of the right procedure for granting discharges in cases where the parents / guardians of the patients do not agree with doctors’ recommendations.
In this particular case the doctors had decided that the girl should be kept in the hospital. The mother, however, signed a form and took responsibility for the discharge before returning home with her 8-year-old daughter.
The Pancyprian Federation of Associations of Patients and Friends have brought attention to the provisions of the legislation on patients’ rights, which provides that health professionals are entitled, in some cases, to either seek court intervention (when there is enough time) or to act at their own discretion regardless of whether or not they have the consent of the patient’s parent / guardian.
This position of the Federation has naturally provoked the reaction of the state physicians, who, as it turns out, have been following specific protocols without taking into account the provisions of the relevant legislation.
Both the Federation’s chairman Marios Kouloumas and the chairman of the Cyprus Medical Association Sotiris Koumas stress the need for the change of the whole system in order to incorporate the provisions of the legislation into the protocols followed by the doctors.
In the 8-year-old girl’s case the hospital staff informed the mother of her child’s condition. The doctors, moreover, had decided that the child should be hospitalised. The mother however signed the relevant form and went home with her child. As Koumas stated: ‘There are no signs of negligence from the doctors’ part’.
The girl died of septic shock. Her parents will transfer the body to Bulgaria for burial and their intention, reportedly, is to return to Cyprus.