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Parliamentary questions
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9 December 2003


by Maurizio Turco (NI), Marco Pannella (NI), Marco Cappato (NI), Gianfranco Dell'Alba (NI), Benedetto Della Vedova (NI) and Olivier Dupuis (NI)

to the Commission

  Subject: Unsatisfactory standards in Italy for checking that medical staff have the necessary professional qualifications

 Answer in writing 

On 5 September 2003 Mr Fabio Gaetano Arcuri suffered an accident resulting in a fracture and dislocation of the left shoulder and went to the accident and emergency department of the San Giacomo hospital in Rome for treatment. He was seen by the so-called Dr Robert Ingravalle a consultant in the hospital's orthopaedic department. As Dr Ingravalle considered that emergency surgery was required, he referred Mr Arcuri to the Pio XI private clinic in Rome where, the day after his discharge from the San Giacomo hospital, he underwent the planned surgery which was carried out by Dr Ingravalle himself. The operation was unsuccessful and Mr Arcuri not only had to undergo further surgery but also lengthy and expensive rehabilitation; he subsequently made inquiries about the consultant from the orthopaedic department of the San Giacomo hospital and, to great surprise, he soon found that the Dr Ingravalle had never obtained a degree in medicine and that his name had never appeared on the professional register of surgeons. It also emerged from reports in the press and on television that Mr Ingravalle had been practising at San Giacomo hospital for more than 15 years and had even attended congresses as a spokesman and appeared on public service broadcasting programmes as a well-known orthopaedic specialist.


The situation arose because of inadequate checks on appointments to the public service and cooperation with private clinics. As Mr Arcuri's case shows, this puts the health of patients treated by the national health service and the private health system at serious risk of harm.


Does the Commission intend to take this matter up with the Italian authorities and investigate whether existing legislation in Italy meets the necessary standards when it comes to checks designed to ensure that patients are treated by medical staff with the necessary professional qualifications?

Original language of question: ITOJ C 783 E, 27/03/2004
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