AURORA SHPATAJ

The Ministry of Health and the Emergency Service state that patients cured of COVID-19 are escorted back home on an ambulance. However, COVID-1 and COVID-2 hospitals deny sending cured patients back home on an ambulance, while the COVID-3 hospital confirms the said procedure. Nonetheless, the healthcare staff in these hospitals says that there is no official instruction to escort patients cured of COVID-19 back home on an ambulance.


On November 23rd, during a media release by the Committee of Experts, the director of the Emergency Service, Skënder Brataj, said:

“Every patient or citizen cured of COVID-19 is and will be escorted back home on an ambulance. Therefore, you should not attempt finding other means of transport, as it will be provided by the 127 system, for purposes of stopping and preventing the spread of the virus.”

Following this statement, Faktoje carried out an observation in the three COVID hospitals, regarding the fact whether or not patients were escorted to their homes on an ambulance, following their recovery.

Faktoje started the observation at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, and in 2 hours a large number of ambulances brought COVID-19 patients for hospitalization.

Infectious Diseases Hospital, picture taken by: Aurora Shpataj

Faktoje contacted some ambulance drivers, who stated that they did not escort any cured patients back home.

“Thus far, I have not escorted any cured patient back home. If I have to do that, the center must provide me with an authorization to transport the patient back home.” – the ambulance driver, who so far has transported COVID-19 patients to the hospital only, stated.

Another ambulance driver at the Infectious Diseases Hospital told Faktoje:

“I find this absurd. Why should we escort them home, when they have recovered? We are here for patients who must be transported to the hospital.”

Faktoje observation continued in the COVID-2 hospital, “Shefqet Ndroqi”.

“Shefqet Ndroqi”, COVID-2 hospital, picture taken by: Aurora Shpataj

Sources inside the “Shefqet Ndroqi” hospital confirmed that the cured patients are not escorted back home on an ambulance.

“No, we neither escort, nor have an order or protocol, to escort these patients back home.” – a nurse told Faktoje.

On November 15th, the Minister of Health, Ogerta Manastirliu, stated that the cured patients are sent back home on an ambulance.

“Patients who leave the hospital are escorted on an ambulance. The dozens of patients cured of COVID-19 every day are taken from “Shefqet Ndroqi” Hospital, Infectious Diseases Hospital, and COVID-3 Hospital to their homes on an ambulance.” – Ms. Manastirliu stated during a press conference.

COVID-3 hospital, picture taken by: Aurora Shpataj

During the communication with the COVID-3 Hospital healthcare staff, they confirmed that each patient is escorted back home on an ambulance after leaving the hospital.

“Every cured patient is escorted back home on an ambulance, accompanied by the healthcare team, following an authorization by the doctor who managed the case.” – a nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, told Faktoje. However, none of the ambulance drivers, contacted by Faktoje, confirmed such a procedure.

Faktoje asked doctor Ilir Allkja whether he had assisted in escorting any patient cured of COVID-19 back home on an ambulance, and he stated:

“My team and I have not escorted any patient from the hospital back home. I personally am aware of a number of patients who have been discharged from the hospital and continue to use oxygen at home, which means that they have not fully recovered, but they have been transported by their families.”

Based on the communication with the 3 COVID hospitals, Faktoje found that there is no instruction for transporting cured patients on an ambulance back home.

“There is no instruction. If there were, it would have been distributed to all pre-hospital emergency teams.” – hospital sources told Faktoje.

The lack of such an order is also confirmed by the director of the Emergency Service, Skënder Brataj.

Response of the director of the Emergency Service, Skënder Brataj