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MP Novotný files criminal complaint over helicopter service interruption

OPPOSITION MP Viliam Novotný of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) has submitted a criminal complaint against the Health Ministry for what he views as negligence of its duty to provide uninterrupted helicopter medical service in September 2013 to the General Prosecutor’s Office on May 6.

OPPOSITION MP Viliam Novotný of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) has submitted a criminal complaint against the Health Ministry for what he views as negligence of its duty to provide uninterrupted helicopter medical service in September 2013 to the General Prosecutor’s Office on May 6.

Novotný referred to the case from last September when helicopter emergency services were unavailable in Bratislava and Trenčín for five days due to delays in completing the tender process for new helicopter licenses. The life of a woman who died in a car accident near the village of Radimov, Trnava Region, during this period could have been saved if rescue helicopters had been available, the opposition alleged.

Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská even faced a no-confidence vote over the matter.

“We saw an unprecedented pause in the emergency system in Slovakia between September 12 and 16 of last year,” Novotný told the media, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

He explained that he filed the complaint in order to “see the issue investigated”, as reported by TASR.

The General Prosecutor’s Office should also examine whether or not the ministry committed the crime of endangering the general public, and whether or not the interruption in the helicopter emergency service was responsible for the death of the woman in the car accident.

At any rate, the interruption in service resulted in diminished accessibility of health care in part of western Slovakia, Novotný said.

“I believe that the Health Ministry did violate the law,” Novotný added, as quoted by TASR.

The Health Care Supervisory Authority (ÚDZS) in mid-April released the results of its investigation into the tragic accident near Radimov. It stated that a doctor who arrived at the scene by ambulance made the correct decision when he said that no helicopter was necessary and that it would be enough to transport the severely injured woman to hospital in an ambulance.

Nonetheless, the hospital in Skalica, Trnava Region, made some mistakes.

“A certain medical intervention was not carried out in time,” ÚDZS spokesperson Soňa Valášiková said, as quoted by TASR.

She did not provide any further details, stating that this concerns confidential information of the patient.

The ÚDZS only investigated whether the care provided to the injured woman, who eventually died, was appropriate. It did not look into the interruption of the emergency helicopter service itself, Valášiková explained, as reported by TASR.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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