Torrevieja Hospital staff charged in death of baby probe

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SEVEN doctors and a nurse at Torrevieja hospital face involuntary manslaughter charges following a baby’s death. Five-month-old Lucia was admitted to the hospital on February 1 this year, suffering from dehydration

She died on February 5 of hypoxia (deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching tissues) which resulted in heart failure. There were several instances of negligence during Lucia’s treatment at the hospital, according to her parents Libertad and Ricardo. They also cited a 30 to 40 minute delay in the arrival of an ambulance to take Lucia to La Fe hospital in Valencia after she began to suffer from tachycardia.

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On questioning paediatrician Cristina Amoroso on July 15, the investigating judge asked if she was aware of the meaning of lex artis, the rules regulating professional duty. She did not have the faintest idea, she said, and admitted that she was still in the process of validating her degree from an Argentinean university, Spanish daily El Pais reports.

The judge gave the doctor five days to complete the formalities, but she failed to do so and now works at a Petrer (Alicante) health centre. Lucia’s parents first lodged a formal complaint against Dr Amoroso, a further paediatrician, a nurse and the hospital management the day after she died.

On April 4 this was extended to include five more doctors and supervisors who attended Lucia.

Together with the local Green party, Libertad and Ricardo have also called on the Health ministry to investigate whether the documentation provided by medical staff met legal requirements. Lucia was the fifth baby to die after treatment at the hospital since 2006, the latest only a month ago.

The parents of the children involved have now begun a petition to open an enquiry into their deaths.

By Annie Maples


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