A VALENCIA doctor has been convicted of refusing to go to a patient’s home- just 50 metres from her medical centre- with the man dying over an hour later.
She has been struck off for 18 months and fined €4,500 for crimes of an omission of duty to help.
The medic was on night duty at the Health Care Point (PAS) on Calle Juan Llorens in Valencia on September 22 2019.
The man underwent heart surgery days earlier and one of his children went to the centre- directly opposite from his home- to ask for help.
The doctor told the court: “I complied with the protocols, I can’t leave if the CICU(emergency call centre doesn’t activate me,”
The condition of the 65-year-old patient, who had undergone heart surgery days earlier, began to worsen.
At 1.30am he started to sweat, had convulsions and uncontrolled movements of his right arm.
The children called the emergency 112 number twice- the second time when he had become unconscious and had gone into cardiac arrest.
While they were waiting for the arrival of an ambulance, one of his three children made the short walk to the medical centre to ask for urgent help.
The doctor, who at that time was sleeping in one of the centre’s rooms, refused to leave the centre, despite the fact she was in charge of the ‘overnight service’ and had seen no other patients up to that point during her shift.
The man eventually died at 2.42am of cardiorespiratory failure, but experts said non-attendance did not cause the patient’s death due to the state of his heart.
The doctor said at the trial that a security guard at the centre told her that a person was in the building, stating that a family member was unwell and that he lived nearby.
She asked him if they had called 112 and waited for them to notify her through the TETRA – the emergency radio in which call centres transmit a message with the basic data of the patient, state and address to which they should go
The doctor referred to the written rules saying she could ‘only leave the centre if it is activated by the CICU to avoid duplication in care or to leave an emergency unattended and that she can only attend to emergencies at the door of the centre.”
“Why would I attend to a patient who is 50 meters away and not one who is 500 meters away?” she asked, adding: “If I had left the workplace I would be sitting in court right now because I had left.”
She also justified not going out to speak to the family member because the security guard only told her that her father was ‘unwell’.
She believed that 112 had already been called and that she did not go out to check that the ambulance had arrived because they told her that he lived ‘nearby, not opposite’ the centre.
“If the rules haven’t changed, I would do it again,” the doctor concluded.