A doctor at the 10th of Ramadan Health Insurance Hospital was sentenced to one year in prison and dismissed from his position by a Sharqiya court on Wednesday. According to the order issued by the 10th of Ramadan Misdemeanor Court, physician Mohamed Hassan’s verdict may be suspended, pending the payment of his bail amount, set at LE5,000.
Doctors Syndicate Assistant Secretary General Mona Mina told Mada Masr that the court’s verdict is “unprecedented and illogical.”
The case dates back March of this year, when a Sharqiya prosecutor visited the hospital where Hassan worked to acquire data regarding a case under investigation. At the time, Hassan was a doctor in the hospital’s emergency care unit, as well as the acting administrative deputy at the facility.
During his visit, the prosecutor asked Hassan to accompany him to the local prosecution office, but the doctor declined, stating that he could not leave work until a replacement doctor arrived at the hospital.
Once Hassan’s replacement arrived, he went to the office of the prosecution, as requested. However, the prosecutor refused to hear his testimony and filed a complaint against the doctor, accusing him of obstructing his capacity to carry out his job. The prosecutor then issued Hassan a four-day detention order, but Hassan was later released on LE10,000 bail pending his urgent trial, the first session of which was set for April 18.
By the end of April, the Doctors Syndicate had organized a protest, as well as a press conference, calling on doctors to attend an urgent general assembly meeting on May 11 in order to coordinate a response to Hassan’s case.
This meeting will still occur on schedule and the syndicate is currently exploring various possibilities to escalate their response, including staging a peaceful strike, submitting mass resignations and expressing their solidarity with Hassan through any other constitutional means, Mina said.
Besides appealing the court order, the syndicate will pursue the passage of legislation protecting on-duty doctors from similar punitive measures. In turn, the syndicate invited members of Parliament with a medical background to attend the upcoming general assembly meeting, Mina added.
“The syndicate’s respect for judicial authorities does not prevent it from discussing its decisions, especially when they are illogical and not based on evidence,” Mina said, highlighting that the court declined to hear testimonies from witnesses and from the head of the Sharqiya Doctors Syndicate, who was also present during the March incident.
“A doctor on duty cannot leave his work in the interest of protecting patients’ rights. At the same time, however, he is now required to leave those same patients out of a fear of imprisonment and dismissal. What are they supposed to do? Doctors are subject to injustice and the entire medical profession is subject to injustice. The current state of affairs will only lead to chaos and conflict between professionals,” Mina concluded.