Lebanon News

Health Ministry investigating hospital's refusal of emergency patient

The Health Ministry building, Beirut.

BEIRUT: The Health Ministry Saturday opened an investigation after a hospital in Metn’s Dora allegedly refused to treat a patient in need of urgent care, caretaker Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani told The Daily Star.

Hasbani said that according to preliminary investigations, a doctor at St. Joseph Hospital had “denied entry to an emergency case” because the patient’s primary physician was based at a different hospital and insisted that the patient be transferred there. Hasbani said the patient had been evacuated from his home to St. Joseph because it was the nearest hospital.

“There was tension ... shouting and stuff,” but no physical altercation, Hasbani said, adding that he believed the incident had occurred Friday.

“The law is clear about the obligation of hospitals to receive emergency patients – now, if the doctor deemed it not to be an emergency, that needs to be investigated,” Hasbani said.

The health minister said he has asked the Order of Physicians to assess whether or not the doctor’s behavior was appropriate.

The ministry said in a statement that it would question the concerned medical staff at the ministry Monday at 10 a.m.

George Ketanneh, secretary-general of the Red Cross, told The Daily Star he did not want to comment on the details of the case due to the ongoing investigation.

 

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