Egypt plans to punish doctors for Covid-19 deaths

Egyptian doctors have protested on social media over a recent announcement by the Ministry of Health to issue records against those allegedly responsible for the “death of coronavirus patients and delays in patient treatments”.

The Secretary-General of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, Osama Abdel Hay, told local media that the decision was based on a “wrong idea, because it assumes that doctors are the ones responsible for the delay in hospital admissions,” explaining that the doctors were providing the “necessary treatments for all the patients without discrimination.”

A Ministry of Health adviser recently said investigations would be opened into those responsible for what he described as “delays in COVID-19 patients’ admissions to the intensive care units, or of those who died 24 hours after being admitted to hospital.”

Doctors in certain regions of Egypt have warned that they have been forced to turn patients away because of a lack of beds at intensive care units.

Overcrowding in hospitals has had the adverse effect of pushing up the number of infections and the death rate. A contributing factor is the lack of awareness campaigns about preventing transmission.

Since the start of the pandemic, doctors have spoken out about the dilapidated health care system, which is in desperate need of reform, and the lack of PPE.

There was outrage as Egypt sent medical aid to its allies across the globe whilst medics at home had to buy their own masks.

Over the course of the pandemic doctors in Egypt have been arrested and harassed if they speak out about the danger of the covid crisis in the country or question the government’s figures.

Earlier this month, it was reported that more than 500 doctors had died of covid in Egypt, making the ratio of doctors out of the national total of deaths in Egypt six times higher than that in the US.

Egypt loses more doctors

Egypt has lost 35 doctors in only two weeks, according to data published by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate in the country.

A few days ago, the syndicate announced that dermatologist Dr Wasfi Shahdi Pham Ghabbour died in isolation in Sadr Al-Abbasiya Hospital after contracting the virus.

One day after, the syndicate’s Facebook page announced the death of Paediatrician Dr Rania Fouad Al-Sayed who died from coronavirus.

On 4 May the syndicate announced that the official death toll among Egypt’s doctors from coronavirus had reached 500 in news that spread across social media.

The ratio of doctors out of the national total of deaths in Egypt is six times higher than in the US.

It is widely reported that the real number of people dying from coronavirus in Egypt is likely to be far higher than what has been reported.

Doctors and other medical staff have been arrested for reporting cases to the Ministry of Health and some have even been imprisoned.

Egypt’s doctor’s union has called on authorities to release the real figures so that their families can receive adequate financial compensation.

Since the start of the pandemic doctors have tried to speak out about the lack of adequate PPE and chronic problems with hospitals and outdated equipment.

In one of the most horrific public examples of this since the start of the pandemic, in January an entire ICU ward died after the oxygen supply failed.

There was neither enough oxygen nor enough pressure to save the patients’ lives.

In response to a video of the incident which went viral, Egypt’s health minister was forced to admit that there was an oxygen problem in the country’s hospitals.