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23 September, 2019
 
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Medical negligence not ruled out in little girl’s death

Cyprus police opens criminal investigation asking health ministry to pitch in with special probe

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Cyprus police has opened a criminal investigation into possible medical negligence in connection with the death of an 8-year-old girl, following statements from her family that contradict a hospital report.

According to Police Spokesperson Andreas Angelides, who spoke with CNA News Agency on Wednesday, criminal investigators are trying to piece together the circumstances surrounding the little girl’s death, without ruling out any suspects.

Following statements by the little girl’s mother on Tuesday, police asked the Health Ministry to appoint an administrator who would probe into the matter, without discounting the possibility of possible medical negligence on the part of doctors, medical staff or hospital administrators.

The Health Ministry has yet to respond to the request, Angelides said, while clarifying that “the basis for a criminal investigation was based on statements received by police.”

Asked if the mother was in any way responsible, Angelides said 'currently nothing comes up against the mother'

Knews previously reported that police were trying to ascertain additional facts with the assistance of a health administrator at the Health Ministry, in addition to a report already compiled by hospital staff and handed over to Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou.

Asked if the mother was in any way responsible, Angelides said no.

“Currently nothing comes up against the mother,” he said.

Knews understands that investigators are also probing the issue of whether the family had a medical card and several doctors and nurses have already given statements, as well as the 18-year-old sister of the little girl who acted as interpreter for her mother during a second visit at the Limassol police station.

The 8-year-old girl was taken by her parents to the Emergency Room at Limassol General Hospital on Sunday evening with high fever. Around 2am Monday morning, the woman came back to the ER with her daughter having a low pulse and high fever and being in partial loss of consciousness.

But there are two conflicting versions of what actually happened Sunday evening at the hospital.

According to a hospital report, the woman asked to sign a release form against doctors’ advice and then took the girl home until their next visit to the ER hours later.

But the mother, described as a Bulgarian national, told police she never asked for a hospital discharge.

She relayed to investigators, with the help of her teenage daughter who spoke Greek, that she did not understand the form she was asked to sign, which later turned out to be a document for legal guardians who wish to decline medical treatment for their offspring.

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