Euro court fines Turkey 8,500 euros in surgery mistakes case
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Right (ECHR) has sentenced Turkey to pay a total of 8,523 euros (nearly 34,000 Turkish Liras) in compensation in a case into two surgeries that left a patient with severe neurological damage.
Erdinç Kurt, his wife Nurşen Kurt and their daughter Duru Kurt filed a complaint against Turkey, claiming that the authorities were responsible for the 92 percent disability that occurred after the high-risk surgeries.
Born in 2003, Duru Kurt began receiving treatment for heart problems in Sami Ulus children’s hospital in Ankara in 2004. The doctors decided to operate and Erdinç Kurt signed a consent form which set out the potential risks.
Following a decision by the hospital’s medical board, a further operation was performed and the girl’s father signed an identical form.
On July 11, 2007, the medical board of Dışkapı children’s hospital in Ankara diagnosed the child with severe and incurable delayed psychomotor development, caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and assessed her level of disability at 92 percent. Her parents then lodged a complaint against the surgeons.
The report issued following an internal investigation carried out at the request of the Governor’s Office stated that the child was suffering from a very serious congenital heart condition, and concluded that the medical team had not acted negligently during the operations.
In September 2008 the public prosecutor’s office discontinued the proceedings.
In May 2008 the applicants brought an action against the doctors in the Ankara Court of First Instance and, according to the court report, the child was suffering from a very serious and rare congenital disease known as Bland-White-Garland syndrome.
The parents had signed a consent form prior to the two operations, and the report concluded that the doctors had not committed any medical or surgical error. After the court dismissed their appeals more than once, the Kurt family applied to the Supreme Court, which also dismissed their application in 2010.
The family then applied to the ECHR saying that their right to life, right to a fair hearing and right to an effective remedy was violated.
The ECHR, in return, ruled for the violation of right to respect for private and family life, saying the expert report on which the domestic courts had based their dismissal of the applicants’ compensation claims, and which concluded that the doctors had not been at fault, had given insufficient explanations regarding the issue on which it was supposed to provide technical insight.
As a result, the ECHR ruled that the applicants had not received an adequate judicial response that satisfied the requirements inherent in protection of Duru Kurt’s right to physical integrity. It also ordered Turkey to pay compensation to the applicants.