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August 15, 2022



Czech hospital refuses to examine young Romani man - by the time doctors agreed to see him, he died

18.3.2021 16:09
The remembrance site near the Chomutov hospital for Romani community member Viktor M., who died there in March 2021. (PHOTO: Renata Kováčová)
The remembrance site near the Chomutov hospital for Romani community member Viktor M., who died there in March 2021. (PHOTO: Renata Kováčová)

Czech Police are investigating the death of a 23-year-old Romani man, Viktor M., at a hospital in Chomutov. According to the young man's family, neither the emergency room nor the internal medicine clinic would initially take him as a patient. 

After each part of the hospital tried to send Viktor M. somewhere else, the internal medicine clinic finally began to examine him, at which point he collapsed. According to Lukáš M., brother to the deceased ViktorM., several paramedics told Viktor M. that he was faking his symptoms.  

The family has insisted that police investigate. Viktor M. experienced difficulty breathing, chest pain, and tingling in one arm on Monday, 15 March.

"We called ahead to the emergency room. They told us to bring him in. Once we were there, they told us to take him to the internal medicine clinic. They said he was young and certainly would not collapse," Lukáš M. described to the Blesk tabloid.   
Viktor M. arrived at the hospital at about 17:30, but the emergency room does not open until 18:00. Reportedly the internal medicine clinic did not want to examine him either.   

A call was then placed to the emergency room from the internal medicine clinic, and the emergency room repeated that they would not take Viktor M. as a patient. Lenka Ferencová, a cousin of Viktor M. who accompanied him and his other family members to the hospital, confirmed that to Czech Television.  

"They told us it wasn't acute, but that he had to go back to the emergency room, that they wouldn't take him," Ferencová described the internal medicine clinic's response. Allegedly they said the emergency services should be called.  

The family placed the call and the operator at the emergency services then arranged for Vikor to begin to be examined at the internal medicine clinic after all. "So we were standing outside here, the nurse was staring at us, the window was open. We shouted 'Please, take him!' " Ferencová told Czech Television, who then described seeing resuscitation equipment being brought into the internal medicine clinic.  
Viktor M. is said to have waited outside the internal medicine clinic for about 20 minutes. "Then a doctor came out to say she would be not examining him immediately. After a while she took a specimen from his nose, and they said it would take two hours for results. The clinic did not bring him in until a different doctor came on duty, and my brother died practically at the moment they closed the door behind him," Lukáš M. described, adding that while he was in the waiting room of the internal medicine clinic, his brother had to listen to allegations that he was faking his symptoms. 

Jana Mrákotová, spokesperson for the Regional Health Services, said "The patient was provided resuscitation for one hour" when asked whether the doctors had provided adequate care to him. She refused to comment further on the case given the ongoing investigation.  

Commercial television station TV NOVA was the first to report the story and contacted police spokesperson Miroslava Glogovská about the investigation, who told them: "I can confirm that we received a criminal report yesterday about the death of a patient in a Chomutov hospital, which we are handling." According to Viktor M.'s surviving family members, he had been in good health most of his life.  

About a year and half ago Viktor M. reportedly was given an electrocardiogram that found nothing wrong with thim. As a child he had suffered from mild epilepsy, but over time, according to Lukáš M., that ailment subsided. 

According to Ferencová, doctors do not know what caused Viktor M.'s death, but they believe it is likely to have been a lung embolism. Police have ordered a forensic autopsy to clarify the cause of death.  

Viktor M. is survived by his common law wife and three-year-old daughter; he worked as a taxi driver. His father died at the end of February from COVID-19. 

fk, rko, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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