Hatay hospital manager defiant over lives lost in ICU

Hatay hospital manager defiant over lives lost in ICU

Hatay hospital manager defiant over lives lost in ICU

Following allegations that patients in the intensive care unit of Private Defne Hospital in the southern province of Hatay were left to fate after the deadly earthquakes struck last month, the manager of the hospital has said they tried to do their best to save them but were unable to, daily Hürriyet has reported.

Private Defne Hospital was among the buildings affected by the Feb. 6 earthquakes. Nine patients, one of them a baby, in the hospital’s intensive care unit lost their lives as they were not evacuated.

A search and rescue team entered the unit three days after the quake, but it was too late, as the patients had died.

The team published the images of rescue efforts in the ICU with the note saying: “Patients in the intensive care unit were left to die.”

The images caused a great reaction, following which Hatay Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Health Ministry launched an investigation.

It was learned that the prosecutor’s office also launched another probe against the contractor of the building and the person who shared the images.

On the other hand, the hospital’s senior manager stated that they tried to save the patients but could not manage to rescue them.

“Everything necessary was done. Those images were taken by search and rescue teams on the third day of the earthquake. We couldn’t get those patients out, but we also knew that they were there. Many people could not be pulled out from the debris of their houses on the fifth day, even on the seventh day, even though rescue teams knew they were there. The incident in the hospital is the same,” he explained.

“We evacuated most of the patients on the first day. Due to the earthquake, the stairs of the hospital collapsed, the electricity was cut off, the generator could not be activated as a result of a cable break, and the elevator became inoperable. Some of those patients died as a result of these.”

Claiming that the rescue team was called by the hospital, the manager said, “We put an officer there [ICU]. I do not feel guilty.”

Clinical Psychologist Hasan Yılmaz, who has a workplace near the hospital and supported the evacuation process of patients, stated that some relatives tried to rescue patients by their own means.

“The intensive care unit of the hospital is on the top floor. A patient’s relative hired a crane to get his mother and accompanying sister out of there. With the crane, 17 people were rescued. On the first day of the quake, we could not see any search and rescue teams there. We could have saved more people, but the crane ran out of fuel,” Yılmaz explained.

Speaking about the allegations, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stated that this incident increased the sadness of the health community.

“We have initiated the necessary investigations regarding this incident and other similar allegations,” he said.