Fırat Alkaç – ISTANBUL
Turkey’s Council of State has ruled that a woman, whose husband died from HIV after he received blood from the Turkish Red Crescent in 2011, should pay back with interest the 350,000 Turkish Liras (roughly $100,000) of fine she received, saying that it was not the Health Ministry’s fault but an employee’s.
The Health Ministry asked Ahmet Emin Bilgin’s family to return the money that they received upon the Council of State’s decision.
Bilgin, 52, who suffered kidney failure, underwent a transplant surgery in 2011, where he was transferred his mother’s kidney. He was diagnosed with HIV months after he was discharged from hospital. His health condition deteriorated day by day and was later taken to Istanbul University’s Medical Faculty Hospital, where he succumbed to the disease.
It was later determined that he was infected with HIV from blood he received from the Red Crescent, which was transferred to him during the surgery.
The Istanbul Fifth Administrative Court had fined the Health Ministry to pay 350,000 liras to his family after Bilgin’s family filed a complaint. The ministry, which paid some 443,000 liras to the family with interest, appealed against the decision and applied to the Council of State.
The Council of State ruled that the ministry was not at fault in the incident, but an employee was, thus reversing the judgement.
The Istanbul Fifth Administrative Court then reviewed the file and accepted the decision, which was followed by the Health Ministry applying to the Istanbul 19th Civil Court of First Instance for the family to return the compensation.
The court rejected the demand as the ruling was not certain yet, prompting the ministry to apply to the Supreme Court.
Speaking about the incident, Bilgin’s wife, Satu Bilgin, said she would return the money only if they brought her husband back.
“If they hadn’t transferred blood with disease to my husband, none of these would have happened. We’ve been living under harsh conditions since the death of my husband. I worked as a cleaner to pay for my children’s expense. I cleaned stairs. How am I supposed to find that amount of money? If they give me back my husband, then I would pay by working as a cleaner,” she told daily Hürriyet.