Portugal

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Sources of Information

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National Influenza Center

Dr Helena Rebelo de Andrade
Instituto Nacional de Saude
Av Padre Cruz 1649–016
Lisboa, Portugal
T: +351 (21) 752 6455
F: +351 (21) 752 6400
e-mail: h.rebelo.andrade@insa.min-saude.pt

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Scientific Publications

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News

note: translated by dimux. i am not a professional translator and am actually still learning portuguese, so any edits are welcome. a few of the sentences in particular that could use a hand are in brackets. translated as requested on the June 12 new reports thread.
One week after Carla’s death from hemorrhagic pneumonia, the civil community joins Carla’s family in a public demonstration of their disgust. The young 17-year-old girl’s case has been taken as an example to call attention to other cases of negligence. The silent march on Sunday afternoon to the hospital door was a clear sign of protest.

There were 20 minutes of slow and silent march to remember Carla a week after her death. Hundreds of people from many areas around the island, friends, relatives, classmates from the Professional School of Praia da Vitória (Victory Beach) were present. “There are many people who joined with us to show their disapproval of the Regional Health Service,” explained Carla’s boyfriend, Hugo Santos. The departure from the Angra Court was made with symbolism. “The march was begun at the Court in order to carry justice to the hospital,” Hugo Santos added.

Two banners led the march and summarized the motives. One read, “In honor of Carla and all the victims of negligence,” and the other, “Insecurity is common.” Upon arrival at the hospital, a coffin where marchers left flowers and candles was symbolically placed. Before departing the group, the father of the young 17-year-old left a promise there: “My family is willing to take part in any other form of protest; there will be more cases of negligence at this hospital.”

Common flu developed into hemorrhagic pneumonia

Carla Costa, a native of Quatro Ribeiras (Four Banks/Shores), died on April 1st after being admitted that same day to intensive care at Santo Espirito Hospital. According to the Board of Directors of the health clinic, the cause of death was related to the seasonal flu virus H3N2 that developed into hemorrhagic pneumonia. It is a matter of a common flu; what is not as common is the type of pneumonia. [orig.: Trata-se de uma gripe comum, o que não é tão comum é o tipo de pneumonia.] Through the public health [hot?]line, it was confirmed that only two documented cases of hemorrhagic pneumonia exist in Portugal. Hemorrhagic pneumonia is extremely rare. In 80% of cases, it is fatal and causes internal bleeding, presented as traces of blood in the cough and phlegm. The day the young girl was admitted to the hospital, she was already showing these signs.

The confirmation, by phone, of Carla’s cause of death concerns only a blood sample. Other test results remain to be seen, and they will be approved by the Ricardo Jorge Institute in Lisbon as well.

The rapid response, according to the hospital administration, owes to the fact that Carla’s case could have been associated with the H5N1 virus, and it was necessary to avoid alarmism in public opinion. A recent group trip to Romania raised the question of H5N1. But the span of a month and a half between the trip and the first flu symptoms allayed that suspicion.

Case turned over to the Public Ministry

Carla was the middle daughter of three siblings. Her mother, Maria José, and father, Carlos Andrade, still cannot understand how it was not possible to detect the illness more quickly and treat it. Two days after the onset of the flu, due to a high fever, Carla turned to the Praia Health Center, where an x-ray was taken and she was given medicine for the flu. She waited for three more days at home, but the fever continued and the symptoms worsened. The young girl decided to return to the emergency room, where she was treated again for the flu. From Friday to Saturday, her state of health worsened such that Carla had to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. She was admitted to intensive care, but it was already too late.

Relatives have found grounds to lodge a complaint with the Public Ministry for medical negligence. Situations like this one have been directed to the Public Ministry because a Health Provider [orig.: Provedor da Saúde] - an entity that manages patients’ rights - does not exist in Portugal.

Meanwhile, at Santo Espirito Hospital, a process of investigation is already under way. According to the Clinic Director, Leonor Bettencourt, “This investigation will happen in the standard fashion … at the meeting of the Board of Administration, an individual was nominated to initiate the inquiry.”

The Regional Secretary of Public Affairs took on the case himself to learn about the health clinic’s conduct, in expression of beginning the process of investigation. [orig.: O caso levou mesmo o Secretário Regional dos Assuntos Sociais a inteirar-se dos procedimentos da unidade de saúde no sentido de dar início ao processo de averiguações.]
Page last modified on June 15, 2006, at 06:02 AM by dimux