ZAGREB, August 21, 2018 – Health Minister Milan Kujundžić has said in an interview with the Večernji List daily that he will ask that members of parliament Željko Jovanović of the Social Democratic Party, and Ines Strenja Linic and Božo Petrov of the MOST party be stripped of their medical licences for their statements made following the death of 21-year-old Matteo Ružić, who died in the street in Zaprešić, just west of Zagreb, on August 12 while waiting for an ambulance.
“The three doctors – Jovanović, Strenja Linić and Petrov – used the young man’s death and his family’s tragedy to score political points, revealing their utter medical incompetence… without waiting for the findings of an inspection or an autopsy report. They made conclusions and in fact smeared the reputation of Croatian doctors and nurses and caused public alarm. That has caused huge damage to the Croatian people and I will therefore ask that they be stripped of their medical licences for good. I will also consult with lawyers to see if criminal prosecution against them is possible,” said Kujundžić in a comment on the case that caused a public outcry and criticism from the opposition.
Strenja Linić has asked Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to dismiss Kujundžić while her party colleague Petrov presented a document with 50 reasons why Kujundžić should step down.
Social Democrat Jovanović has reported Kujundžić for insulting the two MOST MPs as doctors after Kujundžić told a news conference that Strenja Linić and Petrov’s reputation in medicine equalled his in farming.
Following Kujundžić’s statement that he would ask that he (Jovanović) and the other two MPs be banned from practicing medicine, Jovanović said that Kujundžić had violated the Code of Medical Ethics and Deontology and acted dishonourably.
“And now he has even dared to threaten us with withdrawing our licences for pointing out his incompetence and arrogance. I expect a vocal response from all doctors because Minister Kujundžić has evidently lost all sense of reality and can no longer be Health Minister,” Jovanović wrote on his Facebook wall.
Jovanović went on to say that Kujundžić had continually insulted fellow doctors by making blanket statements and recalled his statement that Croatian doctors are “incompetent and ignorant and do not deserve their salary”, for which he answered before a Croatian Medical Chamber board.
The Croatian Medical Chamber (HLK) today confirmed receipt of Jovanović’s request for the HLK to launch disciplinary proceedings against Kujundžić, saying that a decision on the request was pending.
Presenting an autopsy report on Ružić’s death on Monday, Kujundžić said that the cause of the young man’s death was asthmatic bronchitis and an undiagnosed heart defect. “There are no sudden deaths caused by asthma, notably in young people, and some other underlying disease, most often a heart condition, is usually the cause, which unfortunately is what happened to Matteo Ružić,” said Kujundžić. The emergency medical service system did not fail in this case nor was there any fault in the procedure, the minister said.
Asked about his responsibility as minister, Kujundžić underscored that as a man of morals currently responsible for the health system, he had said from the first day that he would resign if it was established that the system had failed. “Now we have confirmation that the system functioned and secondly, it has been established that sudden death occurred,” Kujundžić added.