Italian doctor sued for 'refusing Easter visit'

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13:45 CEST+02:00
A doctor in Locorotondo, a town in the southern Italian province of Bari, who took a call from the son of a bedridden patient urgently requiring a tracheostomy tube change at home, is being sued for allegedly failing to assist the woman.

The woman’s son realized on Friday that the tube, a device that enables a person to breathe properly, was damaged and needed to be replaced.

But after calling the surgery, which is managed by the local health service, ASL, he was told by a doctor on duty that the family doctor was unable to perform the procedure as he was away for Easter, La Repubblica reported.

Instead of offering another solution, the doctor advised the son to “call back on Tuesday”.

However, when contacted by La Repubblica, a spokesperson from ASL said that there were doctors available, they simply did not want to go to the patient’s home.

Police have now identified the doctor on duty and have reported him to the public prosecutor.

Italy’s health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, described the case as “shameful”.

“This should not have happened in Italy and I hope it won’t happen again,” she was quoted as saying in La Repubbica.

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“The person responsible for this shameful episode will have to answer the public prosecutor, the managers at ASL and the order of doctors. It must not cast a shadow over the work done by the tens of thousands of doctors who work every day, even during holidays, to ensure the health of citizens.”

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