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March 2, 2021

Ambulance medic indicted in death of footballer Ekeng

Dr. Mihaela Duta, medic on the Puls ambulance that took Cameroonian footballer Patrick Ekeng to hospital, was indicted on Thursday for manslaughter. She was summoned by Bucharest prosecutors to acknowledge the charges against her.

According to a communique issued by the Bucharest Prosecutor’s Office, Mihaela Duta is accused of not fully assessing the patient’s condition and not starting or not ordering the start of resuscitation manoeuvers, the footballer being loaded into the ambulance in order to be taken to the emergency hospital located near the stadium.

“Moreover, although while in the ambulance patient Patrick Ekeng’s ventricular fibrillation condition was confirmed after the ambulance’s defibrillator was installed, Dr. Duta Elena Mihaela did not start the resuscitation manoeuvers required by the medical protocols applicable in emergency medical interventions, instead only making sure the patient was handed over to the hospital’s emergency ward where his life could not be saved despite the start of resuscitation manoeuvers,” prosecutors state.

Investigators also show that, in this context, although his heart illness was among the causes of Patrick Ekeng’s death, Dr. Mihaela Duta’s failure to implement the emergency resuscitation protocol, despite noticing that the footballer was in a state of ventricular fibrillation, “thus cancelled, through unjustified inaction, any chance of survival for the patient,” the forensic report reads.

Dinamo Bucharest’s player Ekeng died on May 6, aged 26, after he collapsed just seven minutes after entering the pitch during a match against Viitorul Constanta. Dinamo staff intervened and called the ambulance. Medics assisted the player on the playfield, then took him to hospital, where he was pronounced in cardiac arrest and eventually dead.

Contradictions emerged concerning the circumstances of the tragedy, with Dinamo fans claiming that the ambulance arrived late at the scene. On May 7, the Prosecution Office of the Bucharest Tribunal said criminal prosecutors and officers of the Homicide Service were conducting an investigation on the footballer’s death as an instance of involuntary manslaughter, and ordered a fact check. A criminal case was opened to establish the circumstances of the death.

The autopsy performed at the National Institute of Forensic Medicine revealed that the cause of death was a pre-existent heart condition.

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