Relatives of Covid-19 dead in Bergamo have filed a class action lawsuit. They want those responsible for the disaster to be brought to justice.
“The hospital asked us for help to find a place in an intensive care unit in another hospital, there was no place, later they forgot to tell us about his death.” Cristina Longhini lost her father almost two months ago – one of the tens of thousands of victims of the corona pandemic in Italy. But also one of the tens of thousands of victims of a health system that, Cristina believes, failed dramatically in the crisis. On Wednesday, a few dozen people gathered in the Palace of Justice in Bergamo to file the first 40 lawsuits – initially against unknown. The initiative goes back to the group “We show”, in which more than 55,000 relatives of corona dead have gathered in Italy.
All of these people want clarity. They want to know why their fathers or grandmothers, their brothers or sisters-in-law often had to wait for days for a doctor to be willing to examine them at all. Why neither adequate home treatment nor hospitalization was possible. And why the relatives were often not tested for the virus.
The group was founded in Bergamo by the tax consultant Luca Fusco and his son Stefano. Her father or grandpa was taken away by Covid-19 within a few days. He was already 85 years old, but according to the two, anything but frail. They first launched a Facebook group and thousands of people joined.
They all have one goal in common: “We do not want compensation.” Instead, it is a matter of making those responsible for the disaster liable under criminal law. Luca Fusco makes it clear: I don’t mean the doctors or nurses. This refers to the administratively and politically responsible of the health care, in Bergamo, in Lombardy, all over Italy. The city and province of Bergamo have been hit more severely by the Corona pandemic than any other place in Italy. The image of the long column of trucks that drove up to the local cemetery on the night of March 18 to take dozens of coffins to the crematoriums of other Italian cities went around the world.
Cristina Longhini’s father was also in one of the coffins that started the journey through Italy. After his death, she was given a garbage bag with his belongings in the hospital, “in his bag with his belongings, including an undershirt with an enormous blood stain: infectious material”. The trace of the father’s body is lost. Days pass before the family learns that he was cremated in Ferrara.
The inability of a system that could not guarantee adequate treatment in the first few weeks, a system in which the relatives in the pharmacies in the area had to search for oxygen bottles on their own because the health service merely issued the prescription. According to many of the members of “We display”, this inability was combined with an equally systematic heartlessness.
Italy now officially counts more than 34,000 Covid-19 victims, but according to the death statistics analyzes of the past few years, it was probably more than 50,000. There are over 16,000 deaths in Lombardy alone.
The plaintiffs now want to get information: Why, for example, at the end of February at the gates of Bergamo, in Alzano Lombardo, was the hospital there reopened after only a few hours after the diagnosis of a Covid-19 case? Why was no red zone established in the Val Seriana despite the large number of cases in early March?
Why did the general care in Lombardy, which at the height of the crisis consisted only of telephone consultations with the prescription of painkillers, completely failed? And who is responsible for ensuring that no protective measures have been taken in the old people’s homes? The first 40 lawsuits will be followed by 150 more in the next few days.