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In Zugdidi Mother Locked Mentally Disabled Daughter in Dark Room

03.10.2007
Mother locked Ketevan Kurua in dark room three years ago and put wooden holt on the door. She wanted to protect her ill daughter in this way. Thirty-two-year-old woman is fighting the serious disease for seven years in vain. She has paranoiac schizophrenia. Mother, Tsiala Kvatania does not want to place her daughter in mental hospital. She is afraid that the young woman will be killed with injection at hospital.

Windows do not have glasses in the room, the floor is thrown up, walls are damp and there are spider webs on them. There is terrible smell in the room, a large board is only floor and there are polyethylene bottles around it. The room is in Zugdidi District Hospital where IDPs from Abkhazia were lodged long time ago. Ketevan Kurua lives in that room and she cannot see sunrays in it at all. The light comes into the room from the bars on the window. There is a curtain on the window instead of glass. The woman spends most time on the board sleeping. Her linen is always wet because Ketevan never goes to the toilet. Mother gives her food from the small window specially cut off in the door. The mentally disabled person received water from the window and she hardly manages to wash up. Ketevan loves coffee and never refuses to take it. Mother and neighbors who try to contact with her offer hot drink to Ketevan. Tsiala Kvatania can clean the room only at night when her daughter is sleeping. She is afraid of the mentally disabled woman’s aggression. Mother lives in a small room with her twenty-seven-year-old son. They sleep on broken beds. Khvisha Kurua also has schizophrenia; however his health conditions have been satisfactory recently. A year ago he was very aggressive to his mother-he was beating and insulting her. He recovered medicines. The brother and sister were registered at Zugdidi Psycho-Narcological hospital five years ago. Both patients receive medicines from the hospital.

Tsiala Kvatania: “We lived in the village of Tsarche in the Gali District. We spent our IDP years in this building. Ketevan got ill seven years ago. She learned at the faculty of philology at one of Zugdidi Institutes. She was taking off cloths in street, was following strangers with stones in her hands, she was breaking windows of neighbors and in hospital, in winter she was running around with bear feet on the ice that resulted into her being seriously infected. She was so ill that I did not hope she would survive. So, she would not die now too…I’d rather keep her at home than place at mental hospital.”

Tsiala Kvatania is not going to part with her daughter but her social and economical conditions are very poor. They are extremely impoverished. Their only income is pension on disability and IDP allowance. Years ago Red Crescent aided the family with products and it stopped three years ago. Neither government, nor international organizations assist the Kuruas now.

Psychiatrist Valina Natsvlishvili states that they always had problems with Kuruas. Psychiatrists could not persuade Tsiala Kvatania to take her daughter to hospital. Doctors do not have right to force the person to take treatment. However, they never applied to corresponding bodies which can place the patient in hospital under force. According to the data of the Zugdidi Psycho-Narcological Hospital there are 166 mentally disabled people in Samegrelo-Zemo-Svaneti Region. 39 out of them have reactive schizophrenia. 235 IDPs have schizophrenia but only two of them are treated at hospital.

Nino Janashia, a psychologist: “If Ketevan Kurua is not taken to the hospital, we should persuade the mother that medical treatment is necessary for her daughter. Ketevan Kurua will not be in danger in hospital. But horrible conditions she lives in now will be too dangerous for her life.”

Zaza Kvatsabaia, coordinator of the Human Rights Center’s Zugdidi office defined that Georgian Administrative Code envisages unwilling psychiatric treatment. “Unwilling psychiatric treatment is provided when a mentally disabled person cannot realize his/her conditions and his/her behavior threatens the surrounding people. In this case, it is not necessary to receive permission from the patient or relatives. Hospital administration should apply to the Master Judge or district court, based on the conclusion of psychiatrists, and should ask permission to place the sick person in hospital.

Nana Phazhava, Zugdidi 

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