Checking of the circumstances of death of the patient in Nizhny Novgorod hospital is monitored by the regional Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee


19 December 2018

For eight months the Investigative Committee has been conducting a check based on a complaint of Lyudmila Bykova, who thinks that the medical workers of the regional psychoneurological hospital failed to properly organize the treatment of her son Vasiliy, as a result of which he died. Based on the results of the check, investigator Andrey Semin has illegally refused to initiate criminal proceedings three times already, reckoning that there was no doctors’ fault involved. The Investigative Committee did not agree to these conclusions and obliged the investigator to conduct a new check. The specialist of the Center of Independent Expert Examination “Aspekt”, who, based on the results of the examination came to conclusion that the hospital doctors offered Vasily Bykov medical support of poor quality which led to his subsequent death, was of a different opinion, as well. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture intend to insist on opening a criminal case.

On 5 June 2018, Lyudmila Bykova applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. She told human rights defenders that on 13 April of this year, her son Vasiliy Bykov died due to aspiration with vomit mass (when vomit mass get to respiratory channel and completely block it), when he was under treatment in the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Psychoneurological Hospital No.1 named after Kaschenko.

Vasiliy regularly was observed; he passed treatment in this hospital, diagnosed with schizophrenia. On 25 February he was once again hospitalized. On 13 April Lyudmila came to see his son, but the doctors did not let her through, referring to quarantine in the hospital. On the same day, Vasiliy complained to his mother of feeling bad, that he had a terrible headache. Lyudmila contacted the doctors and told them about her son’s complaints. According to her, the doctors assured her that they were aware about this problem.
On the next day Lyudmila received a call from the hospital and was notified that her son deceased the day before in the evening, but they did not say anything about the cause of his death.

“Lyudmila Mikhaylovna, take medicine! Vasiliy died yesterday, – Lyudmila recalls that telephone conversation. – I became hysterical then, the passers-by had to help me”.

Lyudmila came to hospital, but she failed to learn the details on her son’s death. There were no doctors available, and medical attendants did not know anything about the incident. When Lyudmila wanted to talk to other patients who were undergoing treatment in the same ward with her son, the doctors told her that the patients were released home for a weekend. On 16 April the relatives collected the body of Vasiliy from the morgue, and buried him the next day. Lyudmila never found any details on the death of her son.
Lyudmila reckoned that the son died through the doctors’ fault, who failed to provide him with appropriate medical assistance. On 3 May, she applied to the police with a crime report. From the police it was transferred to the Investigative Department for the Priokskiy District of Nizhny Novgorod of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region. The investigation was assigned to senior investigator Andrey Semin.

During the time of pre-investigative check investigator Semin three times illegally refused to initiate criminal proceedings, last time – on 24 October.

Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Pavel Osadchiy, representing the interests of Lyudmila Bykova, comments the investigator’s work: “I think that the check based on the fact of her son’s death is performed only formally: for example, the investigator has not questioned the patients who were in the same ward with Vasiliy; he did not examine which side effects the medicine prescribed to him had; examined the ward where Bykov died only one and a half months after the incident”.

During all this time neither doctors nor the investigator told Lyudmila the circumstances of what happened. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture managed to restore the picture of the incident only after familiarization with the material of the check. For example, from the explanations of the doctors it became known that on 13 April 2018 Vasiliy was drinking a lot of water during the day and was feeling sick. By the evening time he started to demonstrate the signs of psychic tension and he was injected with Aminazin-100, after which Vasiliy went to his ward. At about 9.30 p.m., one of the patients, who is still not questioned or identified by the investigator, started to call for the doctors. When the medics entered the ward they saw that Vasiliy was lying on the floor. First aid was rendered to him, but to no avail. At about 9:45 p.m. Vasiliy died. The discharge summary contains a little information on what happened on that evening: “He suddenly sat on the bed, drew breath and fell on the floor” .

At the request of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, professor of the Psychology Department, Doctor of Medical Science, specialist of the Center of the Center of Independent Expert Examination “Aspekt” Vasiliy Belov performed the examination based on the results of which he established significant violations in Vasiliy Bykov’s treatment. For example, the doctors of the Nizhny Novgorod psychoneurological hospital No.1 named after Kaschenko did not perform all necessary measures for clarification of the patient’s diagnosis, he was not provided the special mode of treatment and the special mode of monitoring which was necessary for him due to his illness, and the medicines, due to their side effects, could provoke vomiting.

The specialist made the following conclusion: “It can be said without prejudice that there are direct cause-effect relations between the quality of rendering medical assistance and death of Bykov V.V., as well as direct cause-effect relations between absence of special (specific) care, absence of special (specific) mode of treatment, absence of special (specific) mode of monitoring and the death of V.V.Bykov”.

On 9 November, human rights defenders, during a personal appointment, applied to head of the Department for Procedural Control of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region Aleksey Peresypin with a request to resume the check based on Lyudmila Bykova’s application.

Yesterday, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a response stating that the last “refusal” by investigator Semin is quashed, the material of the check is returned to him for conducting additional checking activities taking into account the arguments provided by human rights defenders. The progress of the procedural check is followed up at the Investigative Department.

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