02 November 2013

Allegations of medical negligence after patient dies at East Timor's National Hospital

ETLJB 2 November 2013 - Allegations of medical malpractice have been made against East Timor's main hospital in Dili, the Guido Valadares National Hospital by the relatives of a woman who died at the hospital.

According to a report on Televizaun Timor-Leste on 20/09, the patient, a woman named Erosfita Fine died in the emergency room at the hospital on 19 September. The family of the decease woman has called on the Minister for Health to be held responsible for her death and for the Health Ministry to reform the medical treatment system in all of East Timor's hospitals in order to save people's lives.

“The system is very week within the hospital and the Ministry of Health; therefore it needs to be changed,” Jaime da Costa said said.

In response, Director of the hospital, Domingos Sarmento, said it was better to hold an investigation into the case in order to identify which was the cause.

Subsequently, a Member of the National Parliament made a statement in the plenary session of Parliament on 24 September that malpractice occurs at the national hospital because doctors and nurses do not work optimally on the night shift. According to MP Ilda da Concecao, the patient died because she did not get proper medical service from the nurses and doctors.

The MP was quoted by Suara Timor Lorosae as saying that “I am calling on Ministry of Health to pay attention to health staff especially nurses and to pay their night shift properly so that they do not sleep when they are on the night shift. Student-doctors are awake all night while nurses sleep so the student doctors can make mistakes when handling patients."  Sources: Televizaun Timor-Leste 20 September 2013; Suara Timor Lorsae 25 September 2013 via TLMDC Edited by Warren L. Wright

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