“He was dying, wasn’t he?”, then a laughter. “It’s a tragedy every time with that beast.” These are some of the shocking phone interceptions between two doctors talking about the work of one of their colleagues who caused injury to the uterus of a patient. The latter was left “cut open, with patches” on the operating table because the doctor did not know how to remedy the damage done. These phone interceptions have been spread as part of the investigation “Mala sanitas“, opened by the Italian Financial Guard corps, which led to the home arrest of four doctors from the hospital system of Reggio Calabria, in Southern Italy: former mayor Pasquale Vadalà, current mayor Alessandro Tripodi, and the gynecologists Mannuzio Daniela and Filippo Sacca.
“You know what? – Mayor Tripods says during a phone call with a colleague – You tell him ‘if you do not need the files, we need them’ because the patient is hospitalized here. Got it? ‘cause now they’ll certainly try to save their ass, aren’t they?!” “Yeah, they’ll try to hide that they failed to intubate him. Let’s hope no damage was done. However, it’s their fuckin’ problem! We have absolutely nothing to do with it.” – these are other shocking statements concerning the case of a child born during the 33th week of gestation. Due to severe problems with the respiratory system, the baby was transferred to the neonatology department. Instead of being intubated, the newborn is simply looked after. Because of a doctor’s lack of professionalism, a tube was inserted to help the baby breath better “only” 53 minutes later… but the tube ends in the digestive tract. At present, five years later, the child is in a vegetative state due to permanent brain injury.
That is not the end of the horrors in this hospital yet. Tripodi also caused abortion to his sister, who had chosen, together with her husband, to carry the pregnancy to term despite being affected by a serious disease. “See if someone can change her IV drip – Tripodi told his colleague Mannuzio – on the pretext that it has stopped dripping.” “If your brother-in-law’s not there… in a moment when he’s not there… Doesn’t he usually stay with her during the night?” – answers the gynecologist. “Even if he’s there. Even if he’s there, he doesn’t understand anything in any case. Make sure no one sees you, ok? See what you can do, put her on 2 or 3 Sint vials and make it drip slowly.” “So it dies and she finally decides to get an abortion”.
Then the conversation goes on… “Tomorrow morning we’ll take her over there – the doctor ensures the mayor -. Nobody’s going to see a damn thing. I’ll insert her a Cervidil (a suppository that causes therapeutic abortion) during check-up. Thus, she’ll begin to have contractions for 2-3 hours and I’ll tell her: there’s nothing to be done, you’re having a spontaneous abortion, and we have to help you. Thus, she’ll be aware of what’s going on. I’ll come to examine her with the suppository already inside my glove, the suppository will be inside the glove, then I’ll take care of everything else.”
The fetus had no malformations, as we learn from the next conversation between the two doctors. “She had an abortion an hour ago; I scraped her uterus… it looks like there’s nothing wrong with it… omission … yeah … maybe its ears were a bit too low… omission”. “There was nothing visibly wrong, what can you see at 16 weeks? 17? Whatever… you can’t see anything… we A small piece of tissue needs to be taken…”
“Lock this file in a drawer. Lock it in a closet in the meantime.” A closet of “miracles”, – as the investigating judge Antonio Laganà explains. In fact, after having locked this medical record in a drawer, it was put back in its place, as if nothing had happened… so as to guarantee a “real and safe way of escape from punishment” to the doctors.