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Court obliges the state to fund comatose protester’s treatment

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Mo’awad Adel remains in a coma as a legal struggle for funding his treatment continues

Demonstrators by the State Council in support of comatose protester Mo’awad Adel on 19 March 2013 (File Photo/DNE Basil El- Dabh)

Demonstrators by the State Council in support of comatose protester Mo’awad Adel on 19 March 2013
(File Photo/DNE Basil El- Dabh)

The administrative court obliged the state on Tuesday to fund the treatment of comatose protester Mo’awad Adel in the United Kingdom.

Adel, a senior student studying pharmacy, was assisting injured protesters at a field hospital on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in 2011 when he was shot in the head. His injuries left him in a coma which his family says can be cured in a British hospital that specialises in similar conditions.

Adel’s family had delegated the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR) to file a lawsuit calling for the state to provide for Adel’s treatment abroad.

The court’s Tuesday verdict obliges interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi’s cabinet and the National Council for Support of the Families of Martyrs and Victims to provide £54,937 for Adel’s treatment in the UK. Adel’s treatment had already used up over £60,000 worth of state funds as he has been receiving treatment in the UK since July 2013.

The former sum of money was only provided after the ECESR won a lawsuit on behalf of Adel’s family, also obliging the state to fund his treatment. When the money was used up, the family requested extra funds, yet El-Beblawi’s cabinet only provided an insufficient sum of £12,000, said Moahmed Soleiman, a lawyer with ECESR who is handling the case. The cabinet’s response prompted the family to file the second lawsuit two months ago.

“I personally see this as clear obstinacy from the authorities’ side and maltreatment of revolutionary icons,” Soleiman said. “There’s a governmental decision ordering the treatment of those who were injured during the revolution at the state’s expense, without setting a limit for funding. Yet, we have to file a new lawsuit whenever we need an extra sum of money to fund Adel’s treatment.”

Soleiman said that during the trial, the National Council submitted documents suggesting that Adel’s treatment had already consumed too much money and that the money already provided for his treatment is “enough”.

Ayman Abdel Meguid, who is responsible for the medical care unit in the National Council for Support of the Families of Martyrs and Victims, denied Soleiman’s account. He added that the statement might have been made by someone who is not authorised to speak on the council’s behalf.

Abdel Meguid said that Adel remains in a vegetative state, meaning he is in a state of partial arousal rather than true awareness. He added that before travelling to the UK, Adel was examined by three different medical committees who all said that “he is not expected to wake up from the coma”.

According to Soleiman, the medical advisor at the Egyptian Embassy in the UK said Adel’s health is improving. He added that the New Qasr Al-Aini Teaching Hospital, where Adel was receiving treatment for a year and a half before being flown to the UK, is communicating with the British hospital where Adel is currently being treated. The former hospital allegedly confirmed that Adel’s health is improving and recommended that he continue to recieve treatment in the British hospital, since Qasr Al-Aini is not equipped to accommodate his condition, Soleiman said.

“All we have been receiving from the embassy’s medical advisor are statements saying that Adel’s case is improving,” Abdel Meguid said. “We have repeatedly called on the advisor and on Adel’s mother to provide us with his medical reports, yet to no avail. We have not received a single medical report which suggests that Adel’s condition is improving.”

Abdel Meguid said that “even though there is no hope for Adel’s recovery, according to the three committees’ accounts,” the National Council remains committed to funding his treatment as long as the authorities or judiciary issue decisions obliging it to do so.

“The council has covered all the expenses of Adel’s treatment so far,” Abdel Meguid said.

A verdict was issued on 2 April binding the state to pay for Adel’s treatment and facilitate his travel arrangements. The court verdict stated that the National Council for Support of the Families of Martyrs and Victims will provide for the treatment and medical rehabilitation based on medical reports.

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