115 underage pregnant girls treated in Istanbul hospital not notified to authorities
Dinçer Gökçe – ISTANBUL
An Istanbul hospital that treated 115 pregnant underage girls, including 39 Syrian nationals, between Jan. 1 and May 9 last year, failed to notify the authorities, which is a legal requirement for treating pregnant girls younger than 18 years-old.
The situation came to light when a hospital social worker and psychologist notified the Küçükçekmece Prosecutor’s Office.
According to records at the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital in the Küçükçekmece district of Istanbul, of the 115 girls, 77 became pregnant between the ages of 15 and 18, while the remaining 38 got pregnant before the age of 15.
According to previous regulations enforced by the Health Ministry, the police should be notified in cases where the pregnant girl is younger than 18, while cases involving children below 15 automatically qualify as “sexual abuse.”
The Küçükçekmece Prosecutor’s Office had demanded an investigation into a doctor and hospital employee implicated in the incident, but the Istanbul Governor’s Office, in a letter dated Dec. 4, 2017, refused permission. The governor’s office said the hospital records showed that the two hospital personnel had not “neglected their duty.”
The lawyer Erkan Akça has made an appeal to the Istanbul Regional Administrative Hospital to nullify the decision made by the Governor’s Office. “The institution that should investigate the neglect of duty is the prosecutor’s office. The refusal of the governor’s office to allow an investigation is against the law,” Akça said in his appeal dated Jan. 2.
Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into the anonymous hospital social worker who notified the incident to the authorities and who has subsequently been re-assigned to other places of work twice.