The verdict of the birth attendant-gynaecologist, guilty of the death of a woman in labor, was upheld

Событие | Пресс центр

07 February 2017

Today, on 7 February 2017, the Nizhny Novgorod City Court upheld a guilty verdict with regard to birth attendant of the local Perinatal center Evgenia Balandina. As we have already reported, on 18 October last year the Dzerzhinsky City 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. At that time 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. Lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, representing the interests of Denis Fomin, will be insisting on awarding a compensation of moral damage to him.

(Irina Fomina, 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 conclusion of the decisive expert examination was 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. 

At 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.

On 18 October 2016, Dzerzhinsky City Court announced Evgenia Balandina guilty of the death of Irina Fomina and sentenced her to a year and a half of imprisonment. 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.

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

She was unsatisfied with the verdict and is going to appeal against it, insisting on her acquitment.

Today the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court has upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance, and the convict’s complaint was dismissed.

«Now, when the verdict has entered the legal force, we are going to apply to court with a lawsuit on compensation of moral  damage inflicted to Denis Fomin by the death of his wife», – lawyer Aleksey Matasov, cooperating with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and representing the interests of Denis Fomin, commented.  

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.