Health services probe doctor who ignored emergency call

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Cyprus state health services organisation (OKYPY) has launched a probe into an incident involving a doctor who reportedly took five hours to respond to an emergency after being called to Nicosia General Hospital.

The announcement was made Tuesday by OKYPY spokesperson Charalambos Charilaou while being interviewed by state TV CyBC about the incident, which involved a young man who suffered multiple injuries in a serious car accident.

According to reports, A&E doctors said they waited for five hours for their specialist colleague who was on duty to respond when they called him for the emergency.

The man was taken to hospital at 2 am, however, the on-duty specialist doctor refused to come in before 7:30 am, asking his colleagues to wait and not bother him.

According to the A&E doctors’ file, the man had to be incubated which can only be done on the approval of the specialist doctor on call.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, president of the Pancyprian Federation of Patients Associations Marios Kouloumas said: “This incident is, unfortunately, one of the many recorded in public hospital emergency units, but one of the few to come to the surface”.

“This is not the first time that specialist doctors who are on duty have either refused to come or have taken their time to respond to emergency calls by their colleagues, claiming that they had to deal with other incidents in wards or surgeries,” he added.

He called on OKYPY to take control of the situation and set up services to follow up on complaints of doctors who do not promptly answer calls from their colleagues in A&E as lives are being lost.

Kouloumas said the problem is that doctors who flout protocols with impunity as there is no oversight of hospitals and A&E.

“In the majority of countries, authorities have set up independent medical and clinical auditing services whose task it is to make sure that protocols in health institutions are applied.

In the case such services find that a protocol has been violated, then they have the authority to impose severe penalties on the offending sides,” said Kouloumas.