Egypt's doctors’ syndicate closes Al-Matariya Hospital following police assault

Menna Alaa El-Din , Hana Afifi , Sunday 31 Jan 2016

Egyptian doctors at a hospital. (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's doctors’ syndicate has decided to “forcefully shut down” Al-Matariya Teaching Hospital until a group of policemen who are accused of assaulting doctors at the hospital are held accountable, among other demands.

The syndicate's secretary Ehab El-Taher told Ahram Online on Sunday that the hospital will be closed, including for emergency cases, and the cases will be transferred to nearby hospitals like Zeitoun Specialized Hospital.

“The hospital will remain closed until the policemen are arrested and referred to trial,” said El-Taher.

El-Taher added that the interior ministry should act by taking legal action against the policemen and refer them to trial.

In an official statement following an emergency meeting on Saturday, the syndicate said that a delegation that includes the head of the syndicate Hussein Khairy, the head of the Cairo doctors’ syndicate, and Al-Matariya Hospital physicians will meet the general prosecutor on Sunday and file an official complaint against the policemen.

The syndicate added that they will call for a committee to perform a medical examination on the policemen, after the latter filed complaints that they were assaulted by Al-Matariya Hospital's two doctors.

El-Taher condemned the policemen’s use of medical reports on motorcycle accident injuries to claim that the doctors assaulted them. El-Taher called it “fraud” and confirmed that the syndicate will file an appeal on those medical reports.

On Friday, El-Taher told Ahram Online that the two doctors, Ahmed Mahmoud and Moemen Abdel Azeem, were pressured to withdraw their complaints after they discovered that the policemen filed complaints against the doctors.

The syndicate called on Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar to suspend the lower-ranking policemen, and take disciplinary measures against them.

The syndicate demanded that complaints of assaults filed [in the future] were to be filed in the name of the hospital where the assault took place, as it is considered an assault on a public institution and on a public servant performing his duties.

A low-ranking policeman wearing civilian clothes went to the hospital on Thursday morning with a wound on his face, and asked the doctor examining him in the ER to include fake injuries in the medical report, which he refused, sources in the hospital said.

In retaliation, the policeman called a group of colleagues to the hospital who assaulted the doctor and some of his colleagues before taking them to the police station, where they were later released.

The syndicate said that it would call for an emergency general assembly on Friday 12 February, giving officials a deadline to respond to the demands.

"All escalatory steps are available [at the general assembly], leading to a partial strike to protect the dignity of all doctors," the syndicate's statement read.

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