The Romanian public prosecutor on Thursday said a doctor had been charged with homicide for not attempting to resuscitate Cameroon international footballer Patrick Ekeng, who died of heart failure last month.
Ekeng, 26, collapsed shortly after coming on as a substitute for Dinamo Bucharest in a league game against Viitorul Constanta and died after hospital staff were unable to resuscitate him.
An autopsy showed the player was suffering from multiple “serious heart problems,” but the Bucharest prosecutor alleged that Elena Duta, emergency medical specialist in the ambulance which took Ekeng to hospital, made no attempt to resuscitate him on the way there.
According to the prosecutor Duta “did not evaluate the footballer’s state of health and made no attempt at resuscitation,” leaving that for the hospital on arrival.
“Even if among Patrick Ekeng’s causes of death were the cardiac problems he suffered from, by his unjustified inaction Elena Duta removed any chance of survival.”
The prosecutor’s office quoted forensic scientists as saying 95 percent of people with similar heart problems survive cardiac arrest if defibrillation is administered within 60 seconds.
“The chances of survival drop by 5.5 percent with every minute,” prosecutors said.
Ekeng underwent routine medical tests on joining Dinamo in January but they failed to detect anything untoward.
Ekeng previously played for several European clubs, spending four seasons with French Ligue 2 side Le Mans from 2009 to 2013 before spells with Lausanne in Switzerland and Spanish side Cordoba.
Ekeng, whose funeral was held in Yaounde last month, made his debut for Cameroon in January 2015 and was named in the squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations where the team exited in the group stage.
His death echoed that of countryman Marc-Vivien Foe, who died of a heart attack in 2003 playing a Confederations Cup match against Colombia at the Stade de Gerland in Lyon.
Barely two days after Ekeng died, Cameroon suffered a further tragedy when Jeanine Christelle Djomnang, a goalkeeper for women’s top flight side Femina Stars Ebolowa, collapsed and died after complaining of chest pains during a warm-up.