The refusal of care to the asylum seeker in Jette deemed “unacceptable” by the Order of Doctors

“Ethically, nothing authorizes such a decision. I also remind you that all doctors take the Hippocratic oath. It states in particular: ‘I will not allow considerations of age, illness or disability, philosophical beliefs, considerations of ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, ‘sexual orientation, social status or any other factor comes between my duty and my patient’”, he justifies.

On Thursday, a member of the emergency department of Jette University Hospital (UZ Jette) nevertheless turned away an asylum seeker about to give birth. He first asked her to provide 2,000 euros, because she did not have insurance.

Christian Melot insists on the fact that everyone in Belgium has the right to some form of help, even those who are undocumented, for example. A Royal Decree of 1996 provides for urgent medical aid for foreigners residing illegally, via the CPAS. Urgent medical aid that can cover both preventive and curative care.

Asylum seekers “in financial aid or in Local Reception Initiatives (ILA)” are also concerned by the MediPrima IT platform, which facilitates the assumption by the State of the medical expenses of CPAS users.

“Even if they are not registered, the hospital must take care of them. He will register them himself in the system afterwards. Social assistance is provided in all hospitals,” says Christian Melot. “In the case of a private hospital, the patient is given first aid before being transferred to another establishment called ‘CPAS'”. There is therefore a risk that the first interventions will never be paid for. “In this case, it goes into the hospital’s profit and loss box. Every year, the boards of directors validate such situations” adds the vice-president of the National Council of the Order of Physicians.

The question he asks concerns the function of the member of staff who did not respect the legal provisions: “You have to see if he is a doctor or a reception secretary or even a nurse. If it is a doctor, an investigation may be opened by the Provincial Council on which the hospital establishment concerned depends. Both the doctor and the hospital can be sued”. Depending on the circumstances, sanctions range from reprimand to disbarment.

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