Alexandria’s general prosecutor heard the testimonies of Amiry Hopsital director Tarek Khalifah and 17 nursing staff on Sunday, who are suspected of being involved in inciting strikes, according to state run news agency MENA.
“Nurses of the emergency night shift stopped receiving patients because they were not receiving their salaries and that caused the death of two patients,” said Khalifah during the investigation, MENA reported.
The night-shift nurses began their strike in Alexandria University’s Amiry Hospital during their shift on Thursday. Seventeen staff members are suspected of inciting the strikes during which two patients died. The two patients were a tasered child and a man who was injured in a car accident, according to police investigations.
“The nurses had legal demands but they were wrong in the way they expressed them,” said Nursing Syndicate general director Kawthar Mahmuod. “Their demands should not prevent them from doing their main job in saving people’s lives,” she added.
Minister of Higher Education Ahmed Abdel Khalek condemned the strike in a statement, calling it illegal. The statement added that the ministry conducted a joint meeting with representatives from the nursing authority and the health ministry to address the reasons behind the strike.
The nurses had pending financial dues since September. They allegedly complained to the hospital administration in several meetings and claim that no response was given.
Four weeks ago, Zagazig hospital workers also entered a five-day strike, demanding pay rises. No casualties were reported.
Mahmoud said the that hospital administration procrastination in giving the nurses their financial dues was the main trigger for their strike, yet it was not the only reason behind the patients’ death, stressing the patients’ severe health conditions when the hospital received them and the doctors’ inability to save them.
Police investigations are underway.