Health

fired the doctor who did not communicate the results of the swab

JURISPRUDENTIAL GUIDELINES

Compliant

There are no precedents in terms

Different

There are no precedents in terms

Obligations on anti-Covid tampons in healthcare facilities

The sentence of 19 April 2022 of the Court of Pavia (RG 228/2022, rel. G. Allegri) which is examined avoiding comments constitutes, in a personal experience to be respected, also a historical testimony of what was and is the pandemic from Covid-19. The events took place in a health facility, which fought Covid but also suffered it, because the doctors were heavily infected; date back to October-November 2020, in full “second wave”. The process, with the “Fornero rite”, in its first phase had had the same outcome, with confirmation of the dismissal of the person in charge of tampons who had not communicated the result of the report.

The complex surveillance system for the Covid pandemic in the healthcare facility is described in the sentence. The swabs to the employees were sent to a specific laboratory for examination, to process them and transmit the reports to the Head of the service; for some time, however, the reports have been included in a “Galileo system”. However, the doctor, who in October 2020 had been in charge of the swabs and in particular to immediately communicate the results, in the following November had not consulted the “Galileo system” and therefore had not made any communication. The doctor-in-charge stated that he did not know that it was necessary to use the “Galileo system”, but was denied in court.

In fact, it turned out that all the laboratory tests of the health facility in question (as well as of other facilities) converged into the “Galileo system”, with the obligation to consult the reports of the individuals concerned. The search in the system was manual, with no alarms for positivity; as an average, between 30 and 40 swabs relating to the structure in question were carried out daily.

The activities for Covid swabs and reports increased progressively and in particular after the “second wave“, That is, after September 2020, when a programming of the buffers was arranged, in addition to those on request. The doctor in charge, then fired, in October of that 2020 had received, among other tasks, the precise one of communicating the results of the swabs, verifying that they had arrived for any subsequent obligations.

The procedure might seem like it complex, but only in appearance: the reports, transmitted to the laboratory and to the internal management system, were merged into the “Galileo system”, which was used precisely to consult the results of all the swabs performed. The knowledge of the reports took place according to the processing laboratory.

The possible justifications of the case

It turned out not to be true, as mentioned, that the doctor in charge had not been notified of the possibility and at the same time obligation to search for the reports in the “Galileo system”: the source from which he should have known the results of the reports was unique and, that is, the “Galileo system” itself, without any difficulty in accessing it. The “system”, set up to make known both positive and negative reports, it worked with simple insertion of the name to ask for news.

In addition to these data on the functioning and knowledge of the specific “system”, it emerged in court that within the health facility there was a general alarm on the case (discovered late), which concerned a health worker in contact with a colleague who was infected; however, the results of the swab were not disclosed. The person concerned clarified that, since the symptoms were obvious and aware of the head physician, all had done a quick swab, at the end of which it was decided to carry out a molecular. It was the person concerned, not having received any communication on the molecular swab, who asked the Health Department to be subjected to an additional swab (which was then also positive): for a few days, up to the outcome of the new swab, the positive health worker had continued to work in contact with colleagues and patients, with obvious risks of contagion.

It appeared in court that, after the first swab, the internal laboratory had processed the report and communicated it to the “Galileo system”, available to the doctor in charge. The system had worked well with knowledge timely the result of the swab, but the doctor in charge had checked nothing even though he was aware of the swab and, specifically, had not checked in the “Galileo system”. The Court of Pavia, with the sentence examined on April 19, 2022, found that the doctor in charge committed serious negligence, which constitutes just cause for dismissal.

The alleged justification for which the assignment would have been exclusive to the “competent doctor“, Because there are really no rules or even logic that prohibit the conferring of such tasks on other doctors as well. The control and communication system turned out to be simple and also well-known in the context of the work structure: in this way the justification for which the result of the report would have been difficult to trace was not fortunate.

The justification that the task would have been too burdensome and impossible for a single doctor was also not valid, given that it was found in court that the swabs and reports were correctly manageable by a single person.

The functions of the state in the pandemic

The sentence of April 19, 2022 of the Court of Pavia was examined here without judgments, but sharing the duty of dismissal; to reread it, it seems to relive very delicate moments of personal and social life, linked from 2020 to the Covid pandemic. You can see in the lines of the motivation, and of the very defenses of the doctor who was later fired, strong tensions that led to human events full of the anxiety to do well, but also of sometimes serious errors. The sentence of the Court of Pavia, in sanctioning serious negligence, reaffirms the social organization provided and ensured by the state-legal system.

The sentence re-poses the question of whether the State has worked both for the anti-Covid organization and functioning, and for remedies for irregularities which unfortunately it is not always possible to avoid. In the sentence, we can see a health facility with serious injury due to the serious negligence sanctioned, to which however the judicial remedy restores credibility.

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