In Yoshkar-Ola court refused to award compensation for infant death in hospital

Событие | Пресс центр

04 December 2013

The Yoshkar-Ola City Court of the Bashkortostan Republic passed its decision concerning the claim lodged by Nadezhda Solovyeva against the Mari El Republic state-financed institution Medical Children’s City Hospital of Yoshkar-Ola for compensation for moral damage inflicted by improper medial service. Ignoring the submission by Prosecutor’s Office that there had been a violation of relevant federal regulations on health care, and contrary to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, the City Court dismissed the claim. The decision has not come into force yet. Human rights defenders are going to appeal against it.

As we have reported before, on 23 January 2013 Nadezhda Solovyeva from Yoshkar-Ola applied to Mari El regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» seeking legal assistance. She accused medical personnel of Medical Children’s City Hospital of Yoshkar-Ola of improper medical assistance for her three-week-old baby, which resulted in the baby’s death.
According to Nadezhda, on 7 October 2012 at about 7 p.m. her son’s temperature rose up to 39,4 C, so she called an ambulance. The paramedics gave the baby a fever reducing injection and took them both to the  children’s city hospital of Yoshkar-Ola. Doctor on duty examined the infant and came up with an interlocutory diagnosis – ARVI. The fever subsided, and they were placed to ward 14  of the perinatal pathology department. Starting approximately from midnight the boy could not fall asleep. He was crying for his temperature was high again. At about 4 a.m. Nadezhda noticed that her son had a spot on the belly that looked as if a blood vessel had burst under his skin. The baby seemed very weak. As for the nurse, she did not attach any importance to it. At about 6 a.m. Nadezhda took her son for weighing. By that time he had rash and spider veins all over his body. Having seen that, the nurse panicked and started looking for a doctor. In about an hour the doctor on duty came, and after visual examination went away for an emergency physician. The doctors concluded that the baby was in critical condition and immediately transferred him to the intensive care unit. Concurrently the emergency physician asked Nadezhda why he had not been called for earlier, for, according to him, they could have saved her son. At about 8:25 a.m. the woman was informed that her son had died from meningococcal disease.

After the tragedy Nadezhda complained before the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office.

Yoshkar-Ola Prosecutor’s Office carried out a pre-investigation inquiry which established that medical attendance to minors admitted to the Mari El Republic state-financed institution Medical Children’s City Hospital of Yoshkar-Ola is performed in full. However, it also confirmed our applicant’s statements, namely that her son had received medical assistance in 50 minutes after the nurse had observed acute symptoms of  meningococcal disease on his skin.

Yoshkar-Ola Investigative Department has already issued four refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, all of them appealed against by human rights defenders. Investigators have so far failed to give any assessment of the fifty minutes delay in providing medical assistance, which had allegedly resulted in the infant’s death.

Currently the only consequences are that doctor Sabantsev who was on duty that day has been brought to disciplinary liability. The hospital Chief Executive had ordered this before the pre-investigation inquiry even started.

Dmitry Yalikov, a lawyer with the Mari El regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture», comments on the court decision: «We shall surely appeal against this decision. The Prosecutor’s Office conducted an inquiry which established violations of relevant health care laws and regulations committed by medical personnel of the hospital. The violations are also corroborated by the fact that the doctor who was on duty that day has been brought to disciplinary responsibility. This evidence, to some extent, grounded our claim before court. We can’t see why the judge didn’t pay attention to these arguments. We are also determined to take all legal steps for the investigation into this incident to be effective».

Expert in international law of the Committee Against Torture Anton Ryzhov notes that the European Convention covers healthcare issues, for it stipulated that human life and health shall be protected by the State. «According to the ECHR case-law, disciplinary liability for medical doctors’ errors is not sufficient for restoration of individuals’ rights in situations like this. The State does have positive obligation to compensate for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage of victims. What is more, this compensation is to be adequate. If Mari El courts don’t grant Nadezhda Solovyeva’s requests, we will apply to the European Court of Human Rights», said Anton Ryzhov.