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IN SHORT

Minister apolgizes to former president

A COURT dispute between Slovakia's former president, Rudolf Schuster, and two Bratislava hospitals has come to an end.

The operators of the hospitals - the interior and health ministries - which are now controlled by the ruling socialist Smer party reached an agreement with Schuster, while Health Minister Ivan Valentovič made a public apology to the ex-president.

However, the hospitals themselves said they were not aware of the agreement. Until now, they have maintained that their doctors made no errors in treating Schuster for a ruptured colon back in 2000.

Anesthesiologist Milan Májek from the Dérerova hospital, who is also the head of the clinic where Schuster was treated, said he regarded the agreement as a betrayal. "This is dirty tactics," he told the Sme daily.

In June 2000 Schuster was hospitalized with a high fever, and his situation quickly deteriorated. At the end of June doctors put him on the critical list, at which point Schuster's family decided to have the then-president moved to Innsbruck for treatment.

Schuster later sued the two Bratislava hospitals for Sk450,000.

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