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Impoverished Patient Blames Doctors for Carelessness and Corruption

29.05.2007
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The family of Abetsvashvilis, living in the Signagi District, blames the doctors of the Tsnori hospital and Tbilisi Burn Center for negligence. They claim that the doctors did not treat three-year-old Ana Betsvashvili, who was in poorest conditions with severe burn, until the media and NGOs got interested in the situation. Disabled child could enjoy the medical card, with which Abetsashvilis could be treated free of charge as well as other kind examinations, only after the increased interest in their problem.

Five-member family of Abetsvashvilis lives in the guard-room of the market in the small town of Tsnori in the Signagi District. Ana’s parents are disabled people. The grandmother helps the mother to look after the children. Several days ago, boiling water split on the child and she got severe burn as a result of the incident. With the support of neighbors, the parents called for the first medical aid. The doctors concluded that the child was in poorest conditions and they took the little girl to Tsnori Hospital “Tserodena.”

“When we were taken to the hospital, the doctors looked at the child and asked if we had money for treatment. We said we were very poor; though we had medical policy.  They did not even allow us to take the child inside the hospital. They said they could not treat such injuries and sent us to the “Janmrteloba Ltd”-Signagi District Hospital. Having arrived at the advised hospital, they initially examined a child and then they also guessed we were poor. The child was wearing worn shoes and clothes. They inquired whether we could pay the expenses for first aid. I repeated the same-“we have policy and I think we can get free treatment.” The child had high temperature; she was shaking and crying loudly. I urged the doctors to make some injection to her because she has epilepsy and I was afraid she would get in coma. Finally, the doctor, called Jemaly received us. He bandaged the burns of the child and advised us to take her to the Tbilisi hospital. Then he asked if we had money for that. I replied we could not pay traveling expenses and then they ordered us to leave the hospital,” said the grandmother, Lali Abetsvashvili.

The neighbors of the family said that they had gathered money to transport the child to Tbilisi.

“We hired a taxi and took Ana to Tbilisi Burn Center where we were told that the money was necessary for treatment. We did not have money, but we had policy. They saw how terrible situation the child was in. Anyway the doctor said they did not care about the policy at all, did not you know that you would need money when you were bringing dying child? And we were sent out from there with these words. They explained they could not treat such child; it was not in their competence. Finally we arrived back home.”

On the next day the child got worse. We could not take her to the hospital it had no use. Then the neighbors got in touch with journalists for help. In parallel to it, the director of the market, where we live in, saw our situation and took us to the Signagi Hospital. The doctors gave some painkillers to Ana and she calmed down,” said the mother of the child, Nino Kemashvili.

Doctors from the Signagi District Hospital categorically denied the accusations of the Abetsvashvilis. The director of the hospital, Nukri Kararashvili, said that these people must have problems neither in Tbilisi nor in Signagi because the family was granted with medical policy within the Poverty reduction Program.

“With that document they can get free first aid and other kind of treatments. I cannot tell you why they had problems. As for the fact that Ana Abetsvashvili was not accepted at our hospital, we cannot receive similar patients because we do not have corresponding license. We called for the special group from the Medical Center for Disaster who will transport the child to Burn Center,” said Nukri Kararashvili.

We talked with the surgeon of the Signagi District Hospital, Jemal janiashvili too.  He said that Ana Abetsvashvili was not poor conditions when she was brought to the hospital; however, it could result in some complications. “The child might have got worse after the burnt injuries developed. Thus I advised them to take the child to the Burn Center. I could not exclude the possibility of occurring the death. I cannot tell you what happened afterwards,” said Janiashvili.

 Nobody commented on the situation from the Burn Center.

Representatives of the Kakheti based NGOs said that the number of illegal facts has dramatically increased for the last time. “Similar is the situation in all district hospitals in the region. We have revealed several facts; however the Ministry of Healthcare and other bodies did not react on those incidents. Moreover, the board members of the hospitals made the applicants to change their testimonies and withdraw their accusations. Consequently, the violations have increased in number,” said representatives of the NGO “Human Rights Center’s Kakheti office.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti

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