A private doctor on Wednesday slammed the health ministry and health professionals over the visitation ban at hospitals as he posted messages from a hospitalised patient who was begging for help before he died.

The revelations were followed later in the day by a statement from the state health services organisation (Okypy) defending its position and saying no patients are neglected.

In post to social media on Tuesday, Gerontologist Marios Kyriazis posted two photos of a message thread with a patient, hospitalised at Larnaca general.

“After much reflection, today I am posting some of the messages sent to me by a patient in hospital who was not allowed visits. I, as a private doctor, was almost sneaking in and sitting with him. The messages were sent to me when I was leaving,” the doctor wrote.

In their communication, the patient was asking him to “come”, saying “it’s getting dark. I am scared” and that “water ran out”.

“I want to kill myself” the patient wrote in Greek and requested “help, please”.

Hundreds of people responded to the post, which was shared over 250 times.

“Eventually he died alone,” the doctor said.

He added he will never forgive the people responsible for allowing people to die alone.

“Those of you who were responsible for these patient visitation bans, I will never forgive you. You have no value as health care professionals,” Kyriazis wrote.

Visits to hospitalised patients were significantly restricted and at periods completely banned as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus measures.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, the doctor said he used the specific incident as an example, but such cases “happen all the time”.

He said the health ministry and relevant officials who issue the decrees are responsible, but also the hospital managers who insist on abiding by the regulations without considering the humane aspect of the situation.

According to the private doctor, “there is no excuse” for not allowing visits since health professionals and other hospital staff such as cleaners also come in contact with the patients.

“It would be possible to allow visitations with protective gear, vaccine or test,” he said.

Kyriazis also believes that regulations as regards nursing home visits are unnecessarily strict.

The gerontologist’s post comes after a similar complaint from the family of a cancer patient who also claimed they faced difficulties in seeing their relative who was treated at the Nicosia general hospital and had reported the behaviour of some health professionals.

The case was brought to light over the weekend by Simerini, which said the family filed an official complaint with state health services organisation Okypy on March 17.

They reported that for weeks, they were not allowed to see the patient and were told they would be notified in case of death. The family had to eventually pull strings to be permitted brief ten-minute visits.

Responding to the accusations, Okypy issued an announcement reiterating that according to the current measures visits to state and private hospitals are allowed only in very exceptional circumstances and are subject to the approval of the director of the hospitals.

“The protocols followed in visiting relatives to patients, both in the oncology department and more broadly in all departments/clinics of the organisation’s hospitals, are aimed at ensuring the protection of vulnerable patients and avoiding the spread of the pandemic”.

It added that health professionals are performing their duties selflessly and no patient is neglected.

“Everyday doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, carry out an extremely difficult task, tirelessly, with self-denial, unremittingly. Under no circumstances are patients left alone and helpless, without protection and care.

“The care, treatment and assurance of quality health services to all patients is, and will remain, a priority for Okypy,” the statement added.