Malta recently opened a new institution specifically for elderly COVID-19 patients but a relative of one of the residents has expressed serious concern about the level of treatment provided there.
Martin Micallef’s 81-year-old aunt was relocated to Good Samaritan yesterday after contracting COVID-19 at an old people’s home.
He has since sent a legal letter to Health Minister Chris Fearne, Family Minister Michael Falzon, the Health Care Standards Directorate and the elderly care home his aunt was originally staying at.
In the letter, which was seen by Lovin Malta, Micallef’s lawyer wrote that his aunt tested positive for the virus thanks to “gross negligence” by staff at the elderly care home she was residing in.
“Employees used a room next to [his aunt’s] room to go on break without their masks on,” the lawyer wrote. “This exposed her to people without protection and led to her getting infected with COVID-19.”
Micallef said his family opposed her transfer to Good Samaritan, due to serious concerns about whether the level of treatment provided there is up to scratch.
“I doubt if the patients being moved there are receiving proper care and if they have the standard of care available at Mater Dei,” he told Lovin Malta.
He warned the health authorities haven’t provided him with any details of the conditions his aunt is being kept in or the treatment she’s receiving.
“We need to show respect to our elderly, who contributed a lot for Malta, and it’s thanks to them that we are here today,” he said. “It’s not fair to treat them like this, worse than animals.”
Announced last month by Health Minister Chris Fearne as a “brand new hospital of a very high standard”, Good Samaritan takes in COVID-19 patients from elderly care homes to ensure they don’t transmit the virus to other residents.
As of this afternoon, a total of 77 patients are currently receiving treatment there.
However, a couple of patients have died since it opened its doors and Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci confirmed today that it’s actually licensed as a long-term facility, not a hospital.
Good Samaritan is housed in the same building as Casa Serena, a former hotel that has since been converted into an elderly care home.
It is operated by St Thomas Hospital, which is owned by former Labour MP Louis Buhagiar and his son Ryan.
At her weekly press briefing today, Charmaine Gauci said public health authorities are monitoring the treatment of Good Samaritan patients.
“If a patient doesn’t need ITU care, they get treated there instead; it offers the best care for a long-term facility,” she said.
However, she refused to answer Lovin Malta’s question about why the patients who died weren’t transferred to Mater Dei earlier or confirm how many doctors, nurses and healthcare staff are assigned there on a full-time basis.
Lovin Malta has sent questions to both Fearne and Falzon about this new facility.