The Healthcare Ministry came to the defense of its emergency response team from Struga, who were photographed drinking coffee at a gas station while transporting a patient, who later died.

The incident caused outrage. But the Ministry says that the patient was not an urgent case, but a case of terminal cancer. The family was unable to transport him from Skopje to his native Struga in an ordinary vehicle and asked for medical transport. During the trip, the family reportedly asked for a stop, so that they can get water.

The daughter of the patient confirmed the statements of the medical team. Still, even though she requested the stop, ER teams are not allowed to make such stops, and appropriate steps will be made, the Healthcare Ministry said.