Another violent hospital confrontation occurred in the delta city of Mahalla Al-Kubra on Tuesday, following the death of two men involved in a brawl.
According to reports of the incident received by Director of Security of the Gharbeya governorate, General Saleh Al-Masry, Rizk Mossad Salem received a gunshot wound to the head while Ibrahim Mohamed Awad suffered multiple stab wounds. Salem reportedly died before reaching the hospital while Awad died following his admission.
People associated with the deceased men clashed at the hospital after Salem and Awad were transported there by ambulance. A group of civilians stormed the hospital and vandalised equipment. A group of doctors and staff reportedly barricaded themselves in a room to protect themselves.
Investigations into the incident suggest the violence stemmed from a dispute between street vendors and escalated into an armed conflict in which firearms and blades were used.
Over the last month emergency rooms and intensive care units (ICUs) have been subject to a series of violent attacks. Al-Qasr Al-Eini Hospital in downtown Cairo closed its emergency room last week after gunmen entered it and attacked patients and hospital staff. Like the latest incident in Mahalla, the incident at Al-Qasr Al-Eini hospital occurred after casualties from a fight were admitted.
The Medical Syndicate has expressed its anger and frustration over the lack of security in light of these events and has appealed to the new government to step up defence around hospitals.
Deputy of Mounira Hospital, Dr Khedr Abdallah, said hospital security is inadequate. “We have two soldiers – we need at least six armed ones. Now they only have sticks.”
Board member of the Medical Syndicate, Dr Ahmed Lotfy, said he and other board members recently met with the new Minister of Health, Mohamed Hamed Mostafa, to express their concerns. Mostafa agreed to increase the budget allocated for ER and ICU staff supplies from 20 million LE to 300 million LE. Hospitals will also provide revamped professional training for their privately hired security staff.
Mostafa will now meet with the new Minister of Interior General Ahmed Gamal Al-Din to discuss necessary heightened security.
The recent hospital violence has occurred for a range of reasons, including confrontations instigated by people desperate for medical attention they can’t afford.
Egypt’s rapidly deteriorating health sector is a major issue for newly-elected President Mohamed Morsy and his Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.