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Romania doctors blamed after U.S. player's death

This Nov. 21, 2009 file photo showing Xavier guard Mark Lyons, right, going to the basket as Sacred Heart guard Chauncey Hardy (22) defends, in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game, in Cincinnati.
Fle,AP Photo/David Kohl

BUCHAREST, Romania - Two doctors were negligent in their treatment of American basketball player Chauncey Hardy after he suffered fatal injuries, Romania's health ministry said Wednesday.

Hardy died Sunday after he was punched in a bar in the southern Romanian city of Giurgiu, where he played for a Romanian club. The 23-year-old sustained severe head injuries and died after surgery in a Bucharest hospital.

Health ministry official Raed Arafat said Hardy should have been transferred to Bucharest immediately, instead of 4 1/2 hours after he arrived in a coma at the Giurgiu hospital.

American basketball player killed in Romania

Arafat said the Giurgiu hospital lacked the equipment needed to determine whether Hardy had a serious skull injury — which meant the doctors on duty should have immediately requested his transfer to Bucharest. Arafat also said Hardy was not properly monitored while in Giurgiu.

Arafat said the ministry recommended that local health authorities fine the two doctors in Giurgiu 3,000 lei ($960) each and the hospital 35,000 lei ($11,200). The ambulance service and an ambulance doctor should also be fined, Arafat said.

Hardy's death brought Romania's health system under fresh scrutiny, in a country where doctors are badly paid, hospitals lack equipment and procedures are not always followed.

Hardy, who played at Sacred Heart in Connecticut from 2006-2010, came to Romania to play for CSS Giurgiu in August.

Prosecutors said Hardy was punched in the face by the boyfriend of a woman Hardy was with in a bar.

A suspect, Ionut Tanasoaia, was arrested Monday in Hardy's killing and will be in custody for 29 days while he awaits trial.

The Romanian basketball federation said Wednesday that Hardy's body would be repatriated to the U.S. The process is being arranged by the U.S. Embassy and Hardy's family.

Coach Theo Matthew Evans and colleague Justin Neal Eller will accompany the body to the U.S.