FILE – Man undergoing dialysis – Reuters/Mohamed Salem
CAIRO - 16 September 2018: The prosecution of Sharqia's Zagazig ordered Sunday the detention of 15 people working in a public hospital where three people died while undergoing hemodialysis, with the cause of the incident being partially unclear to the public.
In the wake of the death of three patients and injury of others while undergoing dialysis Saturday in Al-Sharqia's Dairab Negm, Egypt's prime minister and health minister affirmed that those responsible for the incident will be severely punished.
Three people died and 33 others were injured inside the public hospital, according to a General Prosecutor's statement. People who caused the death of the victims due to dereliction of duty have not yet been officially announced.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly affirmed the authorities will deal decisively with those found guilty by the investigations, adding that the government will not allow similar incidents to take place in the future.
Health Minister Hala Zayed also affirmed taking legal measures against those behind the incident. Although nobody has been officially accused yet, Zayed revealed further critical details about the probable cause of the victims' death.
Zayed accused the company responsible for the maintenance of the dialysis unit inside the hospital, saying that this company has carried out maintenance to the unit for six months. However, this time, complications took place directly after the maintenance of the unit.
On Saturday, Zayed arrived in Sharqia to disclose the circumstances of the incident, prepare a detailed report on the victims' death, and visit the injured patients.
Zayed also visited the public hospital where the incident took place. Subsequently, she ordered a temporary closure of the hospital's dialysis unit, summoned the officials in the hospital for investigation, and secured a dialysis unit inside another hospital for dialysis patients.
Confirming Zayed's remarks, Khaled Megahed, the Health Ministry's spokesman, said that maintenance of the dialysis unit and the filters inside it took place on Friday, only a day before the incident occurred.
Mamdouh Ghorab, Sharqia's governor, referred the case to the General Prosecution to take legal measures against people responsible for the incident.
A number of the General Prosecution's members headed to the scene to conduct the required inspection, seize the equipment used in the dialysis sessions, listen to testimonies of the injured patients, and task forensic pathologists to determine the cause of death.
The Egyptian Center to Protect the Right for Medicine described the incident as the most severe incident to take place in the history of hemodialysis. The first hemodialysis to be undergone by a human being was in 1924.
In 2017, Dr. Gamal al-Saadi, chairman of the Egyptian Society of Nephrology and Transplantation, said that 60,000 citizens undergo dialysis in Egypt. According to another report in 2018, the country has between 90,000 to 115,000 kidney failure patients.
While a patient needs three dialysis sessions per week, the cost of each session has been doubled in May this year, to be LE 400 ($22.3).