Conflicting reports emerge over medical negligence claims on 12-year-old girl's death

Conflicting reports emerge over medical negligence claims on 12-year-old girl's death

ZONGULDAK - Doğan News Agency
Conflicting reports emerge over medical negligence claims on 12-year-old girls death

İrem Yağcı died almost four years ago, on Nov. 30, 2009, but contoversy on her case still lingers as the expert rejected any negligence of the hospital personnel. DHA photo

The controversy over the death of a 12-year-old girl for alleged misdiagnosis at a hospital in the western Black Sea port city of Zonguldak has taken a new turn, after an expert report rejected the claims of medical negligence that appeared in the High Council of Health's assessment.

İrem Yağcı, the daughter of a poor family subsisting on her father's low wages as a miner, died on Nov. 30, 2009. She had been taken to Zonguldak Children's Hospital with symptoms of vomiting and fainting. Doctors decided to transfer Yağcı to Ankara after diagnosing her with mushroom poisoning. However, she was only able to depart for Ankara six hours after the diagnosis, due to several instances of negligence such as the absence of a proper ambulance vehicle. Her condition worsened on the road to Ankara, in Bolu's Gerede district, where she died at the local town's hospital following a cerebellum hemorrhage.

In the trial opened by the family, six medical personnel, including two doctors, are being charged with "reckless homicide" and may face between three and six years of prison.

The High Council of Health said in its report that if the initial diagnosis had been accurate, Yağcı could have been taken to surgery in Zonguldak and had a chance of being saved.

However, experts rejected the accusations of negligence, arguing that even if the doctors had made the right diagnosis, they would eventually still have had to transfer Yağcı to a better-equipped hospital.

The report prepared by Ankara University staff pointed to "administrative failures" in transferring Yağcı with urgency. "The coordination center did not inform that the ambulance was out of order and the other ambulances at other command centers were not properly activated due to the lack of a list outlining duties," the report said, also stressing problems in the monitoring during the transfer.

The report also emphasized that possible medical interventions to save a patient in the event of a cerebellum hemorrhage were very limited.

However, the family's lawyer objected to the expert report and the court ultimately asked the forensic medicine institution to issue a third viewpoint. The Yağcı case has received wide attention and sparked indignation across the country.