The Malta Independent 21 November 2018, Wednesday

Updated: Chris Said presents documents which he says prove cover-up; Fearne denies

Wednesday, 7 November 2018, 11:08 Last update: about 14 days ago

PN MP Chris Said said that internal Gozo Hospital documents prove that the authorities attempted to cover up the death of a patient, with regards to the Gozo helicopter allegations, while Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne has denied the allegation.

Said has alleged that there was an effort to cover-up the incident last August, where a helicopter was meant to be always available to bring patients to Malta from Gozo, but was missing, allegedly leading to the man's death when he went through cardiac arrest.

An inquiry had been launched, which found that The Gozo General Hospital helicopter was available when doctors decided to fly a patient to Malta last month. The board, appointed at the request of Health Minister Chris Fearne and which was led by Professor Joe Cacciattolo, looked into claims that the Gozitan man had died because the helicopter was out of action. The inquiry report said: "The procedures followed were in line with established normal practice and protocols. No difficulties were encountered during the transfer of the patient from GGH to MDH. The patient was only transferred to MDH once the attending physician considered that it was safe to do so. The air ambulance helicopter was available when a decision was taken that the patient needed transfer to MDH."

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Today however, Said tabled two leaked documents in Parliament, which were allegedly written by medical personnel who were taking care of the patient after he entered the Gozo hospital.

One of the notes read that since the helicopter was not working, the fasted way was to use the ferry, and another note that read that there was no helicopter service.

Said argued that these notes prove that the death was covered up through a 'sham inquiry.'

He also said that other lives were lost due to negligence.

Said, speaking during a Parliamentary debate about the Gozo estimates, reiterated his position about the privatisation of the Gozo hospital, and also said that there are rumours that Steward Healthcare is on the way out.

Chris Fearne denies

The Ministry for Health categorically denies the statement made in Parliament by Chris Said, that Steward Healthcare are leaving their operation in Malta or Gozo. 
"Regarding Said's remarks on the helicopter service from the Gozo General Hospital, Deputy Prime Minister Fearne has already published in full the conclusions and recommendations of the Independent Inquiry lead by Professor Joe Cacciattolo."

"Indeed the inquiry clearly stated that 'The procedures followed were in line with established normal practice and protocols. No difficulties were encountered during the transfer of the patient from GGH to MDH. The patient was only transferred to MDH once the attending physician considered that it was safe to do so. The air ambulance helicopter was available when a decision was taken that the patient needed transfer to MDH.'" 

"Furthermore Said was presented with the complete inquiry report which explains in detail the sequence of events. Dr Said is being politically dishonest when he is continuing to ignore the findings of the inquiry. "


 


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