Former health official, workers charges with negligence leading to Hep C spread
Health Minister Adel al-Adawy - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: A former Ministry of Health official along with five doctors, 36 nurses and two hospital managers will be tried for negligence related to hepatitis C infections among patients in a Sharqia hospital in 2010, according to the Ministry of Health.

“Seven patients who underwent kidney dialysis at the Faqous General Hospital were  infected with Hepatitis C, and their stories were reported by the media. These cases date back to 2010,” the spokesperson of Ministry Health Hossam Abdel Ghafar told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

Egypt has the highest prevalence of hepatitis C in the world, according to the United Nations Population Fund. The government has recently started a cure program using Sovaldi, a treatment manufactured by American company Gilead; hundreds of thousands of patients have registered and started treatment.

Investigations into the infected cases were requested by the health ministry from the administrative prosecution, which released the results Tuesday and decided to refer the defendants, including the former Undersecretary of the Minister of Health in Sharqiah Sayed Abu el-Kheir, to the court.

According to the investigations, Youm7 reported that there was a “huge deficiency” in cleaning tools of the dialysis unit at the hospital.

“The people blame the ministry for the delay of the justice, however the ministry has done its duty which is administrative and limited to filing reports against doctors or hospitals, and issuing an administrative decision to suspend those responsible,” said Abdel Ghafar. He added, “we hope the executive bodies speed procedures taken against suspects so that people feel fast legal procedures are taken on grounds.”

Over the past few months, complaints about medical negligence were not only limited to public hospitals, but it also to private ones. In this regard, Abdel Ghafar said that there are specialized bodies at the ministry to monitor private hospitals and give licenses. “Whenever we receive a complaint, we go to inspect. Some of the complaints about violations or lack of medical services are issued against hospitals that do not have licenses, and these receive a closure ordinance from the ministry,” he continued.

A latest incident took place at the private Nile Badrawy Hospital in Maadi, when 26-year-old journalist Heba al-Ayouti, 35, died after a doctor and two nurses mistakenly injected her with a formaldehyde solution instead of radioactive dye when she underwent a scan on her ovaries. Her family filed a legal pursuit against the medical staff and the hospital, which deleted Ayouti’s admission record to get rid of evidence.

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