Lebanese Doctor Penalized for Criticizing Health Ministry Over Coronavirus

Alarab Post | L'Orient-Le-Jour

Hadi Mourad, the Doctor who criticized the health ministry’s management of the outbreak, was suspended by the Minister of Public Health Hamad Hassan from practicing Medicine. He was also summoned to appear before the criminal investigation office on Monday 16 March.

That has caused an uproar over the past weekend and massive support from the Lebanese people on social media.

In a televised interview on Sunday, Dr. Mourad made the bold statement that Minister Hamad “had committed a crime against the Lebanese people” in the management of the epidemic of the new Coronavirus. 

He stressed that the “Stay at Home” campaign alone is not enough “as long as the air borders are still open, and planes carrying passengers from endemic countries or where the virus has spread continue to land at the Beirut International Airport.”

Dr. Hadi Mourad – L’Orient le Jour

Doctor Mourad said that he decided to “raise his voice” when a plane from Iran with 150 passengers on board landed the day before. 

He said he “couldn’t keep his mouth shut” due to the magnitude of this scandal. “These people should have been quarantined to protect those around them,” he stated.

Iranian airplane lands in Beirut amid coronavirus outbreak in Iran – Naharnet

Dr. Mourad, who had already denounced over a month ago the placing of Iranian drugs that do not meet the standards on the Lebanese market, explained that the response to his bold statements now did not take too long. 

Reportedly, a mere twelve hours after the broadcast, he received a call from the criminal investigation office summoning him in for questioning. 

Although he was initially scheduled to be questioned on Monday at 10 AM, he discovered that the Minister of Health had already withdrawn his license to practice on Friday evening. 

On this delicate issue, which is mostly seen to be unjustified in the court of public opinion, Dr. Mourad said: “The minister could have sued me for defamation, but he has no right to take vindictive action because I raised my voice.” 

Reacting to this case, the President of Lebanese Order of Physicians, Charaf Abou Charaf, called on the Minister of Health to “reverse his decision” until it is “settled within the framework union.”

Dr. Charaf Abou Charaf – Naharnet

In a statement, Dr. Abou Charaf said that “speaking is the right of any doctor.” But he stressed that during “epidemics and health disasters, the law requires that everyone comply with the decisions of the Ministry of Public Health.”

From its side, the Syndicate of Physicians of Tripoli issued a statement condemning the decision of the minister of health as illegal.

Dr. Mourad took to Twitter Sunday night to inform the public that the interrogation has been postponed until further notice.

In that regard, former public health minister Ghassan Hosbani said in an interview with MTV that a license to practice cannot be retrieved from a doctor unless he/she committed a medical mistake: