Sunday,24 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1434, (14 - 20 March 2019)
Sunday,24 March, 2019
Issue 1434, (14 - 20 March 2019)

Ahram Weekly

Dismissal met with protests

The sacking of the chairman of the National Heart Institute after just six months causes controversy, writes Ahmed Morsy

 

Minister of Health Hala Zayed issued a decree last weekend terminating the appointment of Gamal Shaaban as head of the National Heart Institute and referring him to investigation for failing to perform his duties. Shaaban had been in the post for six months.

“The decision follows the unjustified postponement of surgical operations at the institute on patients in urgent need of surgery,” Khaled Megahed, spokesperson of the Health Ministry, said in a statement.

Zayed assigned Mohamed Osama, head of the cardiology department in the institute, as Shaaban’s replacement.

Following the dismissal several doctors, nurses and staff at the National Heart Institute protested in solidarity with Shaaban.

“Shaaban was one of the most successful managers at the institute,” a surgeon at the institute, told Al-Ahram Weekly. Shaaban, he said, managed the institute with love rather than with strict rules. “Not only his door was open to all patients, he got the most from doctors and other staff, bringing out all our skills to serve the patients to the fullest.”

Another doctor at the institute told the Weekly that during Shaaban’s six-month tenure the institute had received an unusually large number of patients.

Mohamed Nasr, chairman of Giza Doctors’ Syndicate, denounced the allegations made against Shaaban and demanded he be reinstated. He said the information leading to the ministerial decision was erroneous and a result of “a fault in the computer system of the ministry”.

“Recorded data included only cases involving coronary arteries and did not include valves, children, emergencies and operations conducted for free,” Nasr said.

The ministry had also shifted the cases from 2018 to 2019 but “when the institute conducted surgery postponed from 2018 they didn’t appear in the ministry’s system,” claimed Nasr.

A day after his dismissal, in response to solidarity campaigns online and at the institute, Shaaban tweeted thanks to his supporters. He denied any negligence and said his efforts had saved thousands of lives and had always been in the interest of patients.

The Ministry of Health had previously praised the role of the National Heart Institute under the chairmanship of Shaaban. On 24 November the Health Ministry spokesperson said the National Heart Institute was the top performer among ministry hospitals, carrying out 4,952 medical operations. In January the health minister said she was proud of the institute’s record.

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