The nephew of an 81-year-old woman who contracted the coronavirus while at a home for elderly and who has now been transferred to the Good Samaritan Hospital has filed a judicial protest holding the authorities responsible for his aunt’s health. 

Martin Micallef explained in his court protest that his aunt was perfectly fine until she contracted COVID-19 at St Elizabeth home for the elderly, due, he said, to negligence and recklessness of the carers who often went to her room for their breaks without wearing a mask or taking any precautions. 

The judicial protest was filed against St Elizabeth Home, Prime Care Limited, the Health Care Standards Directorate, Health Minister Chris Fearne and Minister for Elderly and Active Ageing Michael Farrugia. 

Micallef complained that his aunt contracted the virus due to negligence and because she had been exposed. When she tested positive, his aunt was transferred to the Good Samaritan Hospital instead of Karin Grech Hospital and contrary to her relatives’ requests, leading to concerns that the elderly woman is not being afforded the same treatment given to other elderly patients who were also infected by the virus. 

Micallef also questioned the criteria used on where to transfer patients, explaining that while his aunt was transferred to the Good Samaritan, another elderly woman who shared her same room and who also tested positive, was instead taken to Karin Grech Hospital. 

“I have serious doubts about the way  my aunt is being given the treatment she requires at Good Samaritan. The beds at this hospital are not even two metres apart,” Micallef said as he requested that his aunt be immediately transferred to Karin Grech Hospital so she receives the treatment she requires.

He also accused the management of St Elizabeth Home of “indifference” and held them responsible for his aunt’s health. 

“They have failed in their obligation to ensure that my aunt is not exposed to people infected with COVID-19 and also failed in their obligation to ensure that every elderly person is treated with the same care.” 

“Through their conduct, they are showing gross indifference, negligence and carelessness for their obligations towards my aunt and other elderly patients and must therefore bear all responsibility for damages,” Micallef said.

Lawyer Ann Marie Mangion signed the protest. 

[attach id=953866 size="large" align="left" type="image"]The Good Samaritan Hospital in St Paul's Bay is operated by St Thomas Hospital in Qormi. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier[/attach]

The government’s agreement with a private company for the running of the Good Samaritan healthcare facility that is treating scores of elderly COVID patients remains under wraps as both the company and the government are refusing to publish its details. 

In October, the government announced the setting up of a specialised unit for the elderly in care homes who get infected with coronavirus and who do not require hospital treatment. The Good Samaritan is part of the Casa Serena Home, a former hotel that was converted into a care facility in recent years.

The company running Good Samaritan is Care First Limited, run by former Labour minister Louis Buhagiar and his son Ryan. Care First also operates St Thomas Hospital which also provides hospital beds for virus patients to the government.

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