The emergency doctor who was pitchside when Cameroonian Patrick Ekeng died while playing in Romania in 2016 has been handed an 18-month suspended jail sentence for negligence.
Ekeng was 26 when he collapsed and died of heart failure during Dinamo Bucharest’s match against Viitorul in May 2016.
The following month, Elena Duta, the medical specialist in the ambulance which took the midfielder to hospital, was charged by prosecutors who said she made no attempt to resuscitate the player.
On Thursday, a Romanian court also ordered her to pay 200,000 euro ($227,000) in damages, while also sentencing her to 60 days of community service.
Duta was not immediately available for comment following the ruling, the news agency Reuters reported.
Ekeng fell to the floor in the 70th minute of a televised Romanian league match between Dinamo and Viitorul.
He was pronounced dead two hours later in hospital, where staff were unable to resuscitate him upon his arrival.
An autopsy showed the player was suffering from multiple serious heart problems, but the Bucharest prosecutor – speaking in 2016 – said: “Even if among Patrick Ekeng’s causes of death were the cardiac problems he suffered from, by her unjustified inaction Elena Duta removed any chance of survival.
“She did not evaluate the footballer’s state of health and made no attempt at resuscitation.”
The prosecutor’s office quoted forensic scientists as saying 95% of people with similar heart problems survive cardiac arrest if defibrillation is administered within 60 seconds.
“The chances of survival drop by 5.5% with every minute,” prosecutors said.
Following the death of Ekeng, the world soccer players’ union FIFPro raised concerns about the level of first-aid treatment for footballers in Romania.
Eighteen-times Romanian champions Dinamo later retired the number 14 shirt as a mark of respect to Ekeng, who also played for clubs in Cameroon, France, Switzerland and Spain.