The heads of three hospitals in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of a three-year-old child.
The suspensions were reported after the three were summoned to a meeting on November 20 with Health Minister Kiril Ananiev.
The head of the Ivan Mitev Paediatric Hospital, Dr Dimitar Rusinov, confirmed to reporters that he had been suspended, along with the head of Pirogov Emergency Hospital, Professor Assen Baltov and the head of Lozenets Hospital, Professor Lyubomir Spassov. Also suspended is Dr Elena Georgieva, who admitted the child to the Paediatric Hospital.
The meeting with Ananiev followed a call at a Cabinet meeting by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov for the hospital directors to be suspended.
The facts of the case are disputed.
The parents of the child earlier told the media that they had taken their three-year-old boy to the Paediatric Hospital and waited for two hours without staff attending to the child. They went to Lozenets Hospital, where home treatment was prescribed.
The parents say that they returned to the Paediatric Hospital where they waited two hours, and they allege that the child was refused a bed because, they were told, none were available. The child was later moved to Pirogov Hospital after his condition deteriorated, and he died, reportedly of complications from pneumonia.
The hospitals dispute key elements of the parents’ allegations, including that they came in the morning to seek treatment for the child, when hospital records show that they arrived in the afternoon. The allegation about the refusal to give the child a bed also has been denied.
Rusinov told reporters that he and the other two heads of the hospitals would be assisting in the inquiry. He and Baltov both said that they would co-operate fully with the investigation. Spassov declined to speak to the media.
Bulgarian National Television reported that Borissov was 30 minutes late for the weekly Cabinet meeting because he had met the parents of the child.
Visibly upset, Borissov told the Cabinet meeting: “There must be retribution”.
Commenting on an item on the Cabinet agenda, the granting of 6.7 million leva to Lozenets Hospital to cope with debts, he said: “We just pay, and the effect is parents crying in front of me”.
Borissov told Ananiev that while the investigation by prosecutors and forensic investigations were proceeding “I want you to remove all hospital directors and anyone involved in the process”.
The Prime Minister said that the Military Medical Academy, which he said had some of the best doctors, should be involved in the investigation by prosecutors.
(Photo: Jeff Osborne/freeimages.com)