The blame game

A death in the immediate family often elicits the most primal emotions. People scream, cry, throw objects or may enter a pensive state.

I have heard another common reaction in East Timor to the passing of a loved one is extreme anger with the doctor. Physicians are berated, belittled and occasionally assaulted. A recent case highlights the problem:

A Cuban surgeon preformed an operation here weeks ago on a female with an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus). Unfortunately, the patient died. Immediately the surgeon was confronted and punched in the face. Later, a cohort of men traveled to his house, threw stones at him and threatened his life. Due to the growing security threat, the doctor was transferred to another district.

Shorty after the move, he killed himself.

It has now been revealed that the patient died secondary to an anesthesia error. The surgeon was posthumously vindicated but erroneous blame caused him to take his life.


One Response to “The blame game”

  1. Francisco Acosta Says:

    I have only seen movies when doctors were blamed for incidents that caused death..and the reason is that they blame the fact if they were well off, they would of received the best treatment by other doctors. Maybe true but Doctors only do what they can and work with the tools needed.

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