Incident at Charleroi: Mr Chovanec had to wait 4 hours for a doctor

VRT News has seen documents that reveal that the emergency services doctor called out to examine Jozef Chovanec, the Slovak businessman who died after a stay in a police cell at Charleroi Airport, arrived 4 hours after the call was made.  The doctor had to decide whether Mr Chovanec was in a fit state to be locked up.  The doctor did not enter the police cell but made his judgement standing in the corridor.

It was on 23 February 2018 that Mr Chovanec was taken off a Ryanair flight at Charleroi.  VRT News has established that the Slovak lost his documents at the airport before his flight and was taken off the plane because he couldn’t produce them.  Around 6:30PM Mr Chovanec is taken off the flight by eight security staff.  On the way to the police cell he urinates and defecates in his clothes.

An hour later a magistrate orders that the passenger is examined by a doctor.  The doctor arrives at 23:25PM.  By then the cell is full of urine and excrement.  Without a thorough examination the doctor decides there are no medical reasons not to keep the businessman in a cell.

Mr Chovanec remains relatively call until 1AM.  Around 1:30AM he starts banging his head against the wall. He does this over ten times.  An officer notes that injuries are visible.

Between 1:30AM and 4:20AM the Slovak walks to and fro in his cell, glares at the camera and punches the air like a boxer in training.  He jumps up and down, lies on the floor, curls up in a blanket, smears excrement on the cell peephole, does sports exercises, sings and shouts.

At 4:20AM he again starts banging his head against the wall.  He does this over 60 times.

Emergency services are alerted around 4:40AM.  A nurse and a doctor from the medical intervention team arrive after 5AM.  The nurse administers a tranquiliser saying: “If we lose him, it won’t be a great loss.”

Mr Chovanec loses consciousness, suffers heart failure and is reanimated.  A quarter of an hour later, unconscious, he is taken to hospital, where he dies 3 days later.

Images showing Mr Chovanec’s last hour in the police cell have emerged.  Warning: the images are particularly distressing.

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