Assistant physician cites negligence in case of suicide in Mindelo hospital 10 November 2015
The silence on the part of the administration at Mindelo’s Baptista de Sousa Hospital regarding the suicide of 40-year-old patient Antónia “Toya” do Rosário, who was interned in the hospital’s psychiatric ward, has outraged some of the institution’s employees. These workers blame the service that was supposed to ensure patients’ security, as well as hospital directors for having declined to carry outa n autopsy that could have confirmed the exact cause of death. Particularly angry is the patient’s assistant physician, who said “I ordered the patient’s hospitalization to protect her life, but unfortunately we failed her out of negligence. The case should be investigated so that those responsible are held accountable,” he stresses. The hospital’s clinical director, Samila Inocêncio, declined to comment, saying only that “the case is being verified.”
Employees at Baptista de Sousa Hospital are unable to digest the suicide of patient Antónia “Toya” do Rosário, which took place in the institution’s psychiatric ward on Sunday, two days after she was hospitalized. They say that the ward is under surveillance, but even so no one is able to explain how the patient managed to hang herself in a bathroom using a belt. “The hospital’s employees and directorship have taken refuge in silence. Indeed, not even the assistant physician who was caring for the patient was informed of her suicide. No autopsy was carried out. In less than 24 hours, the patient had already been buried. This patient’s relatives don’t have any resources and didn’t even demand an explanation from the hospital,” said a frustrated A Semana source.
To make matters worse, according to another source, the suicide was discovered in the morning, but the victim’s family was only notified at approximately 3:00 pm Sunday. “Essentially, I criticize the way the hospital dealt with this case. It’s inadmissible. There was no respect for the person, regardless of her being mentally ill or not. Toya deserved to be treated with more dignity. Her funeral was held less than 24 hours after her death.” Affirms Baltazar Oliveira, the union delegate for the hospital’s workers, who is demanding civil responsibilities from the institution in the case.
Oliveira alleges that the hospital was aware of the patient’s mental problems, and that it also knew she had previously attempted suicide, which should have led the institution to take basic precautions to avoid new attempts. “The hospital is responsible” in this case, he affirms.
Assistant physician outraged
Even more outraged is the patient’s assistant physician, Alcides da Luz, who confirmed to A Semana that Rosário was a patient with a chronic mental illness that caused thought alterations. “She was schizophrenic, which disorganizes an individual as a whole. She had auditory hallucinations with hints of persecution. In other words, she heard voices. I ordered her hospitalization on Friday, October 30, because she had attempted suicide. She was hospitalized to protect her life. Unfortunately, we failed her out of negligence. This is why this case should be investigated and those responsible held accountable,” he stated.
In this doctor’s opinion, it is inadmissible for a patient to have been able to commit suicide while hospitalized in the mental health ward. “The patient killed herself using a belt – at least this is what a nurse told me, because so far, even 72 hours after her death, neither the directorship of the department nor that of the hospital has officially informed me of the incident. I left work on Friday and the patient was well, and I returned at 8 o’clock Monday morning and was greeted with this news. This just goes to show how far gone we are. I’m the patient’s assistant physician. This is why I’m revolted and outraged. There is no respect, especially for people with mental illnesses.”
Meanwhile, questioned by A Semana, Baptista de Sousa Hospital’s clinical director, Samila Inocêncio, refused to provide any information whatsoever, limiting herself to saying that the case is “under inquiry.” This is not the first case of suicide to occur at the hospital, located on the island of São Vicente. In June of 2014, an individual in his 50s named Eduardo, an employee of fuel distribution company Enacol who was hospitalized suffering from depression, jumped out of a fourth-story window of the facility.
The individual in question was alcoholic and experienced hallucinations. In this case as well, the hospital refused to comment on the incident, promising to do so upon the conclusion of an internal inquiry, which never happened.