Prosecutor’s Office charged three health professionals in Tolima with wrongful death charges

Medical personnel work in an intensive care unit. EFE / Carlos Ortega / Archive

The Office of the Attorney General of the Nation announced, this Monday, December 10, that the psychiatrist Mónica Julieth Suárez Díaz, the doctor Álvaro Leal Rodríguez and the nurse Julián Edilberto Rincón Díaz were charged by an office of the Life Unit of the Sectional Prosecutor’s Office Tolima, for the crime of wrongful death under medical responsibility.

A first case is related to the death of Jorge Eduardo Rodríguez, who according to information from the Prosecutor’s Office “was admitted by his relatives and the Police on January 10, 2018 to the emergency room of a hospital in the Tolima capital, after presenting a acute and aggressive psychotic state”.

In the same way, he explained that he was hospitalized in the mental unit of the healthcare center, after being assessed and subjected to tests. After you were started on medication treatment such as clonazepam, clozapine and midazolam, but agitation persisted without improvement in the patient.

The details of the Prosecutor’s Office specified that on January 13 of that year, “the victim fell while bathing and suffered an injury to one of his eyebrows, for which he required surgery.” Three days later, he was assessed by the psychiatrist Suárez Díaz, who not seeing evolution increased the dose of the drugs. Finally, on January 18, the patient was found without vital signs in his bed, in the early hours of the morning.

“For the Prosecutor’s Office, the dose ordered by the psychiatrist exceeds what is established in the medical guidelines. For this reason, it is presumed that the death of Jorge Eduardo Rodríguez, due to respiratory arrest, would have been a consequence of the increase in said drugs, “said the entity.

“The professional was not suitable in her evaluation of the patient’s condition (…) she lacked meticulousness and diligence in the clinical evaluation”, something that for the accusatory body led her to make a mistake that could be avoided.

Another case was that of the doctor Álvaro Leal Rodríguez and the nurse Julián Edilberto Rincón Díaz, who faced legal proceedings for events that occurred as of January 13, 2016, “when Eduardo Miranda Vargas was scheduled for a spine surgery in a clinic in Ibagué, which was held in the afternoon ”.

After the procedure, the anesthesiologist arranged for him to be transferred to the intermediate care unit, where he was assessed by Leal, an intensive care physician, who would be the specialist responsible for his postoperative care.

The details specified that during the night, “the patient complained of lack of sensation and motor skills in his legs, a situation reported by the nursing assistant to his boss, Rincón Díaz, who verbally ordered him to administer a oral anxiolytic, interpreting the complaint as a manifestation of anxiety”.

This order was apparently issued without having performed a physical examination of the patient for such medication, but it was also carried out “without the doctor having assessed it during his shift to rule out another cause.”

In this way, on January 14, the patient was evaluated again and signs of neurological compromise were found, so a neurosurgeon ordered a CT scan that showed epidural bleeding, something that led him to be operated on urgently.

During the surgery, a Spinal epidural hematoma that caused irreversible spinal cord damage that generated quadriplegia, for which he remained hospitalized for about a month in intensive care with mechanical ventilation.

Even so, the patient died from complications derived from his neurological condition. In addition, the prosecutor in charge indicated that the attention was poor, “Since the main objective of his hospitalization in the Intensive Care Unit was neurological follow-up, which would not have been provided either by the specialist or by the head of nursing.”


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