14.09.2005 | Aleksandr Tarasov, Kherson

Pilgrimage for justice


In the articles published by the newspaper “Vgoru” (“Inquisition can take a vacation” of 7 April 2005 and “Are not prosecutors afraid?” of 21 April 2005) we told about the repeated beating in the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital of a 20-year-old boy, an invalid of the first group.

At that the forensic experts “did not notice” and did not include into the acts of examination some traumas. The prosecutors saw nothing “essential” in such actions of the medics. The doctors persistently refused to show Dmitry’s case history to his mother, diagnosing sometimes TB and sometimes – pneumonia. After that they declared that the patient had only one kidney, although nobody had said anything about that before. On 7 April Dmitry died. How did the top medical authorities assess this incident and what was their reaction?

When Dmitry was alive yet, his mother Olga repeatedly sent letters to the Secretariat of the President, General Prosecutor’s office of Ukraine and ombudsperson. In these letters she complained against the Kherson regional department in questions of health protection and provision with medical drugs, which refused to give the document for examination and treatment of her son in the Kyiv scientific institute. Olga wrote that the head of the regional health department did nothing to stop the beating of patients in the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital, and the position of the law-enforcers could be characterized as “I see nothing, I hear nothing, I shall say nothing”. Yet, unfortunately, the authorities neglected her complaints…

After the death of her son Olga went to the capital, where she hoped to find justice and strive for punishment of the local medics. She wanted to get to the Minister of health protection, since this new official of the Ministry publicly promised to introduce order in medical sphere. Alas, at the last moment the minister cancelled the reception of citizens (some foreign guests came to him) and directed the visitors to his deputy Mr. Hanenko and head of the staff department of the Ministry Mr. Banchuk. The latter headed the Kherson regional prosecutor’s office in the years, when Dmitry regularly and “absolutely accidentally” got traumas in the local psychiatric hospital. It was his agency, which did not react to these facts, as well as to strange inaccuracy in the data of forensic expertises. The ex-prosecutor migrated into the structure of the Ministry of health protection, and again to the “supervision” post: now he controls the medical personnel of the entire country. Olga did not want to go to him…

She decided to meet with deputy minister Hanenko. Before this she went to the office and learned that all her complaints, sent to the Ministry from the Secretariat of the President, General Prosecutor’s office and Secretariat of the ombudsperson, were directed to Kherson by a worker of the Ministry! (Did he really believe that the local authorities would assess and control their own actions?). Nobody in the Ministry has been embarrassed with the fact that the Law of Ukraine “On citizens’ appeals” prohibits to forward the complaints against some structure to this structure for reaction! Nevertheless, the complaints against the Ministry of health protection were sent by President’s Secretariat to the Ministry, and the latter forwarded the complaints against the Kherson regional authorities to Kherson. The circle closed. So, it turns out that the specialists from the Secretariat of the President, Secretariat of the ombudsperson and the General Prosecutor’s office, who have to control the fulfillment of the Law of Ukraine “On citizens’ appeals”, do not know this law?

Mr. Harchenko attentively listened to Olga, accepted the application with the demand to send a commission from the Ministry to the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital and promised to clear up the incident. The commission really came, but it consisted not of Kyiv specialists, but of medics of the Nikolayev regional psychiatric hospital. Mother of the untimely perished boy could see only two members of the commission – the main doctor and the head of the medical department. The others, including the chief accountant (?!), were allegedly “straggling about the hospital”. Then, having decided that she could expect nothing from the commission, Olga wrote the application on the rejection of the composition of the commission.

The woman also resolved to inquire about the results of the service investigation, which was carried out by the town health department on the instructions of the prosecutor’s office of the Komsomolskiy district. In the department Olga learned with surprise that the investigation had been already completed and corresponding notification had been sent to her. It turned out that the activities of the hospital were checked by the medics from the clinical hospital situated in the neighboring Dneprovskiy district of Kherson! The “neighbors” did not find any violations in the actions of administration and personnel of the Kherson regional psychiatric hospital. So, if to sum up, the situation is the following: the boy got to the hospital on his own feet, and was discharged from hospital because of his death. And the inspectors believe that everything is normal. Now, many months after Dmitry’s death, his mother still has not received the official answer from the town health department or the prosecutor’s office. The medical and prosecution officials remain silent…

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