BEIRUT: The Health Ministry ended its contract with a local hospital Wednesday, after the facility refused to allow a child to complete her cancer treatment.
In a statement, Minister Wael Abu Faour decided to drop the contract with the north Lebanon Al-Nini Hospital, warning the institution that he would refer the case to the public prosecutor if such an incident happened again. Without the Health Ministry contract, Al-Nini Hospital will no longer receive payments for treating patients eligible for government subsidies.
His decision came after the ministry concluded an investigation into the case and listened to the testimony of 5-year-old Tala Jomaa's family and the hospital's administration.
On Monday, the hospital refused to allow the child to finish her leukemia treatment, which had been approved by the ministry.
The patient was later admitted after Abu Faour personally intervened.
Abu Faour also asked all hospitals in Lebanon to adhere to the terms of contracts signed with ministry and refrain from rejecting patients based on their financial status.
Such actions, he said, were subject to punitive, administrative and judicial measures.
"I will never be lenient with regards to protecting the natural rights of citizens to medical care,” he said.