An air force officer has been accused of violently attacking nurses at a government hospital in the city of Quesna in Menufia Governorate, Egypt.
The military officer attacked six nurses and three female workers in a disturbing incident that was captured on camera and shared widely on Twitter.
The attack unfolded after a pregnant woman arrived in the emergency room suffering minor bleeding and the woman’s family demanded that a doctor be present rather than the nurse who was carrying out the ultrasound.
The husband and his family then attacked six nurses and three other female workers, breaking their hands and legs, according to media reports. One of the nurses suffered a miscarriage after she was beaten with a rope.
A leaked video captured the director of the hospital threatening any employees who witnessed the crime to keep quiet.
One of the nurses who was assaulted, Nourhan Mansour, told Mada Masr that the police twice refused to take legal action against the attackers because the officer was close to the armed forces and the hospital administration.
قالت نورهان منصور٬ إحدى الممرضات المعتدى عليهن في #مستشفى_قويسنا_المركزي بمحافظة المنوفية، لـ«مدى مصر» إن قوات الشرطة رفضت مرتين في بداية الواقعة ونهايتها اتخاذ أية إجراءات قانونية ضد المعتدين بسبب انتماء الضابط للقوات المسلحة وكذلك إدارة المستشفى.
— Mada Masr مدى مصر (@MadaMasr) December 3, 2022
After one of the police officers arrived on the scene he left again after finding out that the perpetrator was part of the military.
Egypt’s Health Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar has ordered an urgent investigation into the assault, after it went viral on social media under the Arabic hashtag, Quesna Central Hospital.
According to Egyptian journalist Osama Gaweesh, who posted a thread about the attacks online, the penalty for such assaults in Egypt is far lower than in other countries.
Attacks have risen since the 2011 uprising often resulting in death and injury. Patients complain about an ailing healthcare system with a severe shortage of intensive care units and a chronic shortage of medical supplies.
According to Egypt’s Health Ministry, there are around ten doctors per 10,000 citizens, compared to the global average, which is around 32 doctors per 10,000 citizens.
ترتفع هجرة الأطباء والفرق الصحية في مصر حتى جاوز العجز في المجال الصحي نسبة 65٪
هناك زيادة بنسبة 202% في أعداد الأطباء المصريين المهاجرين لبريطانيا منذ 2017
(وزارة القوى العاملة البريطانية – 2022)
— Osama Gaweesh (@osgaweesh) December 3, 2022
The number of doctors and health personnel emigrating in Egypt is increasing, and the deficit in the industry is now 65 per cent. There is a 202 per cent increase in the number of doctors emigrating to Britain since 2017.
According to the Doctors Syndicate, there were more than 20 assaults on medical personnel in the first half of 2022 alone.
In August this year an attack on two Egyptian doctors underscored a rise in violence against medical workers in the country.
One of the doctors, who worked at Suez General Hospital, was attacked by the husband of a pregnant woman who disagreed with an appointment the doctor had given his wife and so fractured his arm.
Around the same time an Egyptian man stabbed a doctor in a hospital in Hilwan and then tried to stab three security guards.
In September, dozens of people stormed Mansoura International Hospital, overpowering the guards and threatening to kill doctors and nurses unless they operated on their relative.
One of the hospital workers was bludgeoned so hard he fell into a coma.
Following the attacks over the summer, undersecretary of the Human Rights Committee in parliament Abu Al-Ula submitted a draft law to try and counter attacks on health care workers.
Al-Ula called for CCTV cameras to be put in hospitals so that assaults and attacks would be recorded.