Euro court fines Turkey over baby’s death
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled Turkey violated the right to life of a baby born prematurely in 2005 who died two days later at the hospital where she had been transferred for emergency treatment. Parents Songül Aydoǧdu and Ercan Aydoǧdu had applied to the ECHR, claiming their daughter’s death was caused by negligence in the western province of İzmir.
“[The] European Court of Human Rights held unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights under its substantive head,” the court decision released on Aug. 30 read, as it held Turkey to pay 65,000 euros to the couple.
“The court concluded that Turkey had not taken sufficient care to ensure the proper organization and functioning of the public hospital service in this region of the country, in particular because of the lack of a regulatory framework laying down rules for hospitals to ensure protection of the lives of premature babies. Accordingly, it considered that the baby had been the victim of negligence and structural deficiencies that had effectively precluded her from receiving appropriate emergency treatment, amounting to a life-endangering denial of medical care,” the court also ruled.
Songül Aydoğdu gave birth prematurely to a baby girl on March 6, 2005. The doctor diagnosed respiratory distress syndrome requiring emergency treatment and special technical facilities which were not available at the hospital in question.
The baby was taken immediately to another hospital. As there was no space available in the intensive care unit the baby was admitted to the neonatal department. On arriving at the hospital, Ercan Aydoğdu was informed that he would have to find another hospital with the requisite facilities to which the baby could be transferred. She was transferred to intensive care, where she was placed on mechanical ventilation, but she died on March 8, 2005.
The couple then filed complaints accusing the doctors and hospital administrators of negligence, but no criminal proceedings against the doctors were carried out. An appeal by the couple against that decision was dismissed.
The couple then applied on Sept. 22, 2006, to the ECHR, which found that the baby had been the victim of a lack of coordination between health-care professionals, coupled with structural deficiencies in the İzmir hospital system, and that she had been denied access to appropriate emergency treatment, in breach of her right to protection of her life.