Outrage erupted in Poland when news emerged in early March that a two-and-a-half-year-old girl named Dominika had died because medical authorities refused to send an ambulance to pick her up in time. Emergency services arrived a full seven hours after first receiving a call from her distressed parents, who reported that she had an abnormally high temperature.
It was only after they received a second call from Dominika’s parents that they sent an ambulance, but by the time the toddler got the hospital, the doctors were unable to save her.
In response, Jerzy Owsiak, the founder of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WO¦P), a huge Polish charity drive that uses its proceeds to buy state-of-the-art hospital equipment, said “the further activities of WO¦P regarding children’s medicine has to be put under a question mark.”
The equipment WO¦P purchases mostly goes to pediatric wards. The charity raised over z³.50 million this year and has raised z³.546 million since it began operations in 1993.
‘What’s the use?’
“What’s the use of buying modern equipment if the patient is not brought to the hospital at all?” Mr Owsiak rhetorically asked reporters, adding that WO¦P could support the Health Ministry but could not “replace the state.”
Health Minister Bartosz Ar³ukowicz was forced to react, and he appeared at a press conference with Mr Owsiak and doctors’ representatives.
He said that in conjunction with doctors, he would try to create a blueprint for change in Poland’s health care system. “We want to create a situation in which patients in our system have a sense of safety,” said Mr Ar³ukowicz.
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