Commenting on the death of reporter Vladimir Matijanic, Ombudswoman Tena Simonovic-Einwalter said on Monday that Croatia "had strongly committed to guaranteeing everyone the right to health care in accordance with the law, the Constitution and international documents," state agency Hina said.
Underscoring that everyone should have the right to accessible and timely health care, Simonovic-Einwalter stressed that “no one’s life or health should depend on their persistence, resourcefulness, political affiliation or on whether they are influential.”
“That also means that actions taken by healthcare workers should focus on people seeking help, who rightfully expect that everything will be done to protect their health and life. Finally, all competent authorities should ensure that guaranteed rights are actually available to citizens,” said Simonovic-Einwalter.
She said that Matijanic’s case was an example of several critical points in healthcare, from problems in accessing healthcare and necessary information and the way doctors communicate with patients to the issue of the functioning and efficiency of the emergency medical service, as well as subsequent comments promoting the inadmissible position that the protection of one’s life and health depends on knowing the right people and having connections.
“That is why it is extremely important to promptly and thoroughly examine the actions of all the staff involved in this case and then take all the necessary steps to prevent similar tragedies,” said Simonovic-Einwalter, adding that she had launched an inquiry into the case.
The ombudswoman expressed her condolences to the reporter’s family, friends and colleagues and supported their going public with the problems he encountered while trying to get the necessary care.
The Split Municipal Attorney’s Office has announced that it will launch a preliminary investigation due to suspicion that one or more persons committed a criminal offense of medical malpractice, causing the reporter’s death.
Earlier this week, Matijanic’s partner Andrea Topic published the chronology of the case on her Facebook profile, claiming that even though Matijanic’s health condition was difficult, both hospital and emergency medical workers refused to have him hospitalized.
She described how she repeatedly called the hospital and the emergency medical service, which refused to take him to hospital. When Matijanic’s condition further worsened, an emergency medical team came a second time, but it was too late.