Health workers deny blame for alleged swine flu victim

More than 200 employees of the Imbaba Chest Hospital in Cairo staged a sit-in on Tuesday to protest the expected prosecution of the hospital’s director following Egypt’s sixth fatality from the H1N1 virus, commonly known as “swine flu.” Protesters say that the hospital director, along with the entire medical team, performed his job competently and should not be held responsible for the latest fatality.

“The case was at first diagnosed with pneumonia,” said hospital employee Dr. Hoda el-Sherif. “But when we discovered that she raised poultry at home, we sent her to Al-Omraneya Hospital, which has been designated by the health ministry for bird flu cases.”

“But the victim was sent back to us after being diagnosed with H1N1,” el-Sherif continued. “So we put her in the intensive care unit and gave her full medical attention.”

According to hospital Assistant Director Muhammad Seoudi, the victim’s family has not filed any formal complaints against the hospital. “They saw with their own eyes the care with which we provided the patient,” he said.

“Is this the thanks we get for doing our best?” asked Dr. Mustafa Abdel Moneim. “What will happen to us next?”

Health Ministry Undersecretary Mustafa el-Marahgi said it was still premature to say who was responsible for the latest death. “This will only be revealed by subsequent investigations,” he said, denying that any protests had been held at the hospital.

Imbaba Municipal Council member Mahmoud Ali, however, confirmed that sit-in protests had in fact been staged by hospital workers. “Council members went to the hospital to see it for themselves,” he said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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