“We understand the concern and anger of Croatian citizens over this death, but inciting hate against doctors and other medical professionals can only have negative consequences for the entire society,” the HLK said in a statement after the circumstances of the death of reporter Vladimir Matijanić, who died on 5 August as a consequence of infection with coronavirus, attracted great public attention.
His partner Andrea Topić has said that doctors at the KBC Split hospital and emergency medical staff failed to provide him with adequate medical care even though he had a number of underlying conditions. An investigation has been launched to shed light on the circumstances of his death.
The HLK said that it, too, has the legal obligation to check doctors’ decisions and that it has already launched a probe into the case.
The HLK called on all doctors making public statements to adhere to ethical principles, respect patients and protect their privacy and dignity, as well as refrain from going public with unverified information and opinions based on incomplete facts or making comments unbecoming to the medical profession.
It noted that a vast majority of Croatian doctors do their job responsibly but that the system is not organised well.
“The Croatian health system is not efficiently organised, the financing is insufficient, management is dissatisfactory, infrastructure is obsolete, and there is a great shortage of doctors and nurses,” it said.
It also noted that for years it had been warning about the constantly decreasing availability and quality of health care and been giving proposals in that regard but that there had been no systematic response by the Health Ministry and state administration.
Following Matijanić’s death, an investigation has been launched into the case and the Health Ministry has ordered an inspection to determine why he was not hospitalised, why he was not given an antiviral drug, and why he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 and whether there were omissions in his treatment.