Clinic staff jailed over bed blaze

Three Kavala psychiatrists have been handed suspended jail sentences for manslaughter after a local court found them responsible for leaving a schizophrenic unsupervised in an isolation ward where he set himself on fire, suffering fatal burns. The three doctors – whose names were not released – were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for three years, in a decision made public late on Thursday. Two nurses working at the same psychiatric clinic were given 12-month terms, again suspended for three years. All five were on trial for the September 18, 1999 death, in the clinic, of a 34-year-old man suffering from schizophrenia. The doctors had consigned the patient to an isolation ward without appointing anyone to keep an eye on him. Meanwhile, the nurses who were supposed to supervise the patient were sitting in an office out of sight and earshot of the ward. The man somehow managed to set his bedclothes ablaze, without any of the clinic’s staff noticing, causing himself fatal burns. He died in a Thessaloniki hospital the following day.

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