Woman dies after delayed hospitalisation amid surging COVID-19 cases

A Turkish woman who waited over two weeks to be hospitalised for treatment of pulmonary disease died on Friday after condemning the government over their pandemic management, Birgün newspaper reported.

Aslı Özkısırlar was unable to be admitted to a hospital in western İzmir province on time due to the unavailability of beds amid surging COVID-19 infections, Birgün said.

The 41-year-old was suffering from polychondritis and Cogan syndrome and succombed to her illness three days after she was finally able to find a hospital bed, it said, citing her family and friends.

“I’ve been waiting to be admitted to a hospital for more than 10 days to no avail because there are no available beds,’’ Özkısırlar said on Twitter on March 24.

The woman had lashed out at the ruling party over their ordinary congress in Ankara last week, which was teeming with people in a clear violation of pandemic rules.

The AKP was roundly criticised by the opposition and its supporters alike for holding its congress with no social distancing measures in place. Busloads of participants joined from across the country, potentially carrying infections with them.

“Go hold your congresses. Why should my pain and suffering matter after all?” she wrote.

Turkey reported 44,756 infections on Saturday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

Özkısırlar’s death was met with sorrow and anger on Turkish social media, including opposition politicians and human rights advocates who used the hashtag #AslıÖlmediÖldürüldü (Aslı didn’t die, she was killed) on Twitter.

Özkısırlar criticized Health Minister Fahrettin Koca in a March 30 tweet, saying she had been waiting for an available bed to receive treatment at a hospital for 20 days.