Gozo hospital worker will contradict helicopter inquiry findings under oath

Nationalist MP Chris Said has been approached by an emergency worker at Gozo Hospital, informing him that the helicopter was not available when doctors decided to transfer a cardiac patient to Malta in an incident that happened in August

PN MP Chris Said has called the inquiry a farce
PN MP Chris Said has called the inquiry a farce

A Gozo hospital emergency worker is ready to testify that a cardiac patient could not be transported to Malta when needed because the helicopter was not available.

Nationalist Party MP Chris Said this morning said that he was approached by the worker, who was duty at the emergency department when the incident happened in August.

Said has confirmed with MaltaToday that this worker was not asked to testify in the inquiry set up by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne in the wake of the incident.

The worker told the MP he was willing to testify under oath that on the morning of 24 August, doctors in Gozo had decided to “immediately” transfer the patient to Malta but could not do so because the helicopter was “unavailable”.

The inquiry concluded that “the air ambulance helicopter was available when a decision was taken that the patient needed transfer to MDH”.

The inquiry’s conclusion was released this week by Fearne but the full report was not published.

Said, who was the first to flag the case in August, described the inquiry a “farce”.

Now, in a Facebook post this morning, the Gozitan MP has accused Fearne of setting up an inquiry with the intention of “covering up” for the “grave shortcomings” at Gozo hospital.

He challenged Fearne to sue him so that he would bring forward the proof that contradicts the inquiry conclusion.

“The person tasked with the inquiry did not speak to any of the workers. Neither was I summoned to testify, despite having been the one to make the allegations public in August,” Said told MaltaToday, insisting this was not an isolated incident.

The case concerns an incident that happened on 24 August at the Gozo General Hospital, when it was alleged that an elderly heart patient could not be transferred to Malta because the helicopter in Gozo malfunctioned.

The patient was eventually transferred to Mater Dei Hospital later in the day but he died in Malta. His death is being blamed on the delay to transfer him to Mater Dei as a result of the helicopter fault.

The Gozo hospital is run by Steward Healthcare. The company also runs the helicopter service for transfer of patients to Malta.

The hospital management had insisted that the helicopter was functioning when doctors ordered the patient's transfer to Malta.

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