Cyprus doctors in custody following school boy’s death

Two state doctors in Larnaca are in custody following the death of a 10-year-old boy who sustained a head injury during gym class, with his mother blaming ER medics for being incompetent in diagnosing an internal head trauma promptly.

The incident Friday morning shocked the public when it was announced that the boy, Stavros Georgallis, was discharged from the hospital after a head injury during gym but died shortly after.

Two doctors, aged 37 and 64, appeared in Larnaca District Court on Saturday morning and were remanded for five days, facing medical negligence charges.

One of the two doctors said he had nothing to say during the hearing while the other was heard saying “this is unacceptable.”

“Are we going to perform a CT scan for every person who falls down?” one of the doctors said to the mother

Stavros was playing basketball during gym class on Friday morning around 11am at Alethriko Elementary School, Larnaca district, when he fell to the ground and struck his head according to reports.

School officials notified the boy’s mother, Maria Andronikou Georgallis, who went to school to pick him up and take him to the Emergency Room at the Larnaca General Hospital.

“I didn’t waste time. We went straight to the hospital,” she told reporters later.

But the mother, who is a registered nurse, believes doctors failed to provide proper care. She says doctors examined her son for about 25 minutes and performed an X-Ray, but when she asked whether they would also perform a CT scan, she was told no.

“Are we going to perform a CT scan for every person that falls down?” one of the doctors asked according to the mother.

The boy was discharged from the hospital and the mother called the school principal around 11:43 to say “the kid is fine” and they would go home at Kalvdia.
But Stavros started to feel dizzy and was complaining of ear pain.

“Mum, it hurts,” he would yell.

Georgallis called one of her friends and together they took Stavros back to Larnaca General, around 1pm. She also called the ER ahead to let them know and make sure someone would be at the entrance to receive the boy.

But it took over an hour for doctors to perform a CT scan and hook the boy up to the machine, according to the mother.

“We are dealing with seconds here, I know. Don’t waste time,” the mother told medics.

Too little, too late

Larnaca doctors determined that Stavros needed to go into surgery and determined they should rush the boy immediately to Nicosia General Hospital.

The mother says she lost her boy during the trip to the capital, while also blaming doctors and the system for failing to perform a CT scan, which would have provided a more rounded image of the extend of her son’s brain injury sooner.

“My baby should have remained there to be looked after every 15 minutes,” the mother said referring to their initial hospital visit.

“I lost my son because of the system and the incompetence of state doctors,” cried out, adding that her boy should have remained in hospital for at least three hours for additional exams and to be monitored before being discharged.

Both ministries of Health and Education have ordered internal probes into the matter, while an autopsy was scheduled for Saturday morning.

An autopsy is scheduled in Nicosia and private forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis, who was hired by the boy’s family, will be present.