Striking nurses accused in Alexandria patient deaths receive late salaries
Minister of Higher Education El-Sayed Abdel Khaleq - YOUM7
By HANAN FAYED

CAIRO: The Ministry of Finance began to dispense late salaries for nurses at Alexandria University Hospital Sunday after two patients died last week, allegedly due to a nurses’ strike protesting late pay, Youm7 reported.

The nurses, who have resumed work, had not received their salary in two months. However, striking at a public hospital is illegal, Minister of Higher Education El-Sayed Abdel Khaleq told Youm7 Sunday.

“I believe that [nurses] deserve more than that, more for overnight shifts and more incentives. However, that is not a justification at all for striking,” Abdel Khaleq told Dream TV Sunday.

If a disability or death resulted from a strike at a hospital, the legal punishment would be harsher, Abdel Khaleq said, adding that the incident is being investigated administratively and criminally.

Soha Mohamed, head of the Alexandria Nurses Syndicate, refuted all allegations against the nurses before a prosecution report was issued, and said no nurse refused to aid the patients.

“Does the nurse examine the patient, or does the doctor?” she asked. “It is an integrated system; everyone should be investigated to find out the cause of death.”

Farag Abdel Wanis, the father of one of the victims, said the hospital refused to receive him at the emergency room because of the strike, and that he was allowed inside only after an officer escorted him. He made this accusation while speaking to Dream TV Sunday.

Wanis said his 7-year-old died awaiting treatment for an electrical shock, and that “he could have survived had the nurses helped him.”

However, Mohamed said the media should wait for all reports, adding that the reason for the death of the other victim, who died at the emergency room of a stomach ailment, “was already confirmed” not to have been due to a lack of nurses. Her comments came during a Saturday meeting with Abdel Khaleq.

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