Birth attendant from Nizhny Novgorod region is found guilty of the death of the woman in labor

Событие | Пресс центр

19 October 2016

Yesterday, on 18 October 2016, Dzerzhinsky City Court announced a guilty verdict with regard to birth attendant of the local Perinatal center Evgenia Balandina. The Court established that Balandina failed to adequately evaluate the condition of woman in labor Irina Fomina and did not take necessary measure to control bleeding and compensate the blood loss which resulted in the death of the patient. The court sentenced Balandina to a year and a half of imprisonment but the convicted person was released from the sentence due to the expiry of the period of limitation for the institution of criminal proceedings. Despite the opinion of the state prosecutor the court refused to apply additional punishment for Balandina in the form of revocation of the right to practice medicine.

(Irina Fomina, the source of the photo: vk.com)

As we have previously reported, on 2 October 2014 Denis Fomin from Dzerzhinsk (Nizhny Novgorod region) applied to Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture for legal support – he believed that his wife died shortly after childbirth due to medical malpractices.

Denis explained that his wife’s pregnancy developed normally and nothing foreboded the tragedy. Not least because Dzerzhinsky perinatal center, where his wife was giving birth, meets all modern standards. However, on the morning after the childbirth, when Denis called the doctors on the phone, they informed him that on 30 June 2014 his wife underwent the Cesarian operation. No-one informed him about the complications which developed after that. At noon of the same day when Denis telephoned the maternity clinic he was told that the young mother and the baby were feeling fine and were having rest.

According to Denis, he and his relatives tried to reach Irina on the phone, but in vain – her mobile phone was switched off. Irina’s mother went to the maternity clinic and witnessed her daughter in the state of unconsciousness being taken to the ambulance in order to be transported to the Emergency Care Hospital. After two days Irina was transferred to Nizhny Novgorod Regional Hospital named after Semashko. Doctors of this medical establishment were struggling to save the young woman’s life for almost two weeks, but on 16 July 2014 she died.

Four medical forensic examinations were performed with regard to this case. The conclusive expert examination established that the death of Irina Fomina resulted from acute blood loss during the Cesarean section. In the experts’ opinion, the doctors of the Dzerzhinsky perinatal center failed to render an adequate medical assistance to Irina Fomina. They wrongly injected an obstetrical medicine, and, in the experts’ opinion, there were no indications for Caesarean section — Irina Fomina could have given birth without it. In addition, in the experts’ opinion, the doctors failed to fully compensate for the blood loss during the post-surgery period and injected some blood plasma which was contraindicative for Irina. These factors, in their totality, led to the patient’s death. Experts considered that if the doctors’ actions had been adequate, Irina could have been saved.

As a result two doctors of the Dzerzhinsky Perinatal Center – birth attendant Evgeniya Balandina and anesthesiologist Ilya Trofimov – were charged with crime under part 2 Article 109 («death by negligence due to deficient performance of professional duties»). After the confirmation of the indictment the case was sent to court. 

In the course of today’s hearing at the Dzerzhinsky City Court defendant Ilya Trofimov asked to dismiss the criminal case due to expire of the period of limitations. Federal judge Dmitry Kaschuk satisfied this motion and dismissed criminal prosecution of Mr.Trofimov.  

Defendant Evgeniya Balandina declined the dismissal of the criminal case, considering herself completely innocent. 

Yesterday Dzerzhinsky City Court found Evgenia Balandina guilty of the death of Irina Fomina and sentenced her to a year-and-a half imprisonment. Despite the position of the state prosecutor the court refused to apply additional punishment for Balandina in the form of revocation of the right to practice medicine.

Due to the expiry of the period of limitation for the institution of criminal proceedings Evgenia Balandina was released from the punishment.

– The convicted person was unsatisfied with the verdict and she is going to appeal against it, insisting on her acquitment, – says lawyer Aleksey Matasov representing the interests of Denis Fomin in the course of the court proceedings. 

“The specific character of the cases on medial malpractices is so that, unfortunately, they can last for a very long time. Only this case required conducting four complex examinations, – points out lawyer from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Dmitry Utukin representing the interests of Denis Fomin at the preliminary hearing. – From our point of view there is no point to appeal against the guilty verdict as the doctor shall be released from punishment in any case. However after the verdict comes into legal force we are going to apply to the court asking for compensation of the moral damage inflicted to Denis Fomin.

“I am upset that the doctors escaped from responsibility and will continue their career, – says Denis Fomin, the husband of the deceased one. – It is still not clear who signed the agreement for my wife’s surgery. The examination confirmed that the signature on the agreement is not hers. It turns out that doctors fabricated the signature and let my wife die and nobody is going to be responsible for that. Everyone has kept their positions and will keep on working…”

It is worth noting that human rights defenders from Nizhny Novgorod are conducting this public investigation in coordination with their colleagues from international human rights group «Agora», who have a lot of experience in cases related to medical malpractices.