158 underage pregnant girls admitted to Istanbul hospital: Health Ministry report
Dinçer Gökçe - ISTANBUL
A report prepared by an inspector at the Health Ministry has suggested the number of underage pregnant girls admitted to the Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Training and Research Hospital in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece district in the first five months of 2017 was 158, not 115 as previously thought.
Mustafa Kılınç, the ministry inspector, penned an 84-page-long report after allegations that the staff at the hospital failed to report the cases regarding underage pregnancies and that the hospital treated 115 pregnant underage girls last year without notifying authorities.
According to the report, 37 of those girls were younger than 15 years old. Among the pregnant girls treated at the hospital were one girl at the age of 12, five girls at the age of 13, 11 girls at the age of 14, 20 girls at the age of 15, 71 girls at the age of 16 and 50 girls at the age of 17.
The report added that the hospital informed the authorities regarding the 34 cases while the remaining 124 underage pregnancy incidents went unreported.
The number of underage pregnant girls treated at the hospital was 1,260 and 64 of those girls were younger than 15 years of age, according to the report, which added that some of those girls were Syrians.
“No matter what their nationality, Turkish laws apply since the incidents took place on Turkish soil,” the report read.
According to the report, 33 doctors at the hospital were negligent because they failed to notify the hospital’s social services department about the pregnant girls. Criminal complaints have been filed for 11 doctors as well as the hospital’s then chief physician and two social services specialists.
The incident at the Küçükçekmece hospital came to light when İcal Nergiz, a social worker and psychologist at the hospital, notified the Küçükçekmece Prosecutor’s Office.
After the scandal became public, Nergiz was appointed to another post at another facility.
According to regulations that should be enforced by the Health Ministry, police should be notified in all cases where the pregnant girl is younger than 18. Cases involving children younger than 15 automatically qualify as “sexual abuse.”