Serbia’s Health Minister Zlatibor Loncar on Friday denied claims of negligence following the death of a journalist who died after being sent to Turkey for treatment.
Loncar told reporters during a tour of the Zvezdara Clinical Center in Belgrade that he ordered a report made into the case of journalist Marina Kovacev who was diagnosed with cancer and sent to a hospital in Istanbul where she died.
“Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with the most malignant form of tumor whose survival rate is one percent within a year or two,” the minister said, adding that she got the same therapy that is given to patients all over the world.
Public attention was drawn to the case when Kovacev’s mother wrote an open letter to the minister about the state of the Serbian health care system. Loncar said there were no complaints about her treatment in the Serbia. “The system in Serbia will never give false hope,” the minister said.
Asked to comment Turkish doctors’ claims that Kovacev did not receive adequate treatment in Serbia, Loncar said those claims were made to make the Turkish doctors appear better than their Serbian counterparts “so that they can earn money”.
Marina Kovačev died on April 24 in Istanbul where she was transferred in March 2018 following treatment at the three hospitals in Novi Sad and Belgrade. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in June 2017.