Shocking negligence kills two-year-old

  • 2000-12-14
  • Elina Cerpa
RIGA - The prosecutor's office in the eastern Latvian town of Rezekne has instigated a criminal case against a doctor at the local hospital for negligence resulting in the death of a two-year-old girl.

Although two-year-old Jana Koluka was taken to Rezekne hospital the evening of Nov. 17 with stomach pains, she was left unattended the whole night by the surgeon on duty, Tatjana Gurjanova, as the doctor was sleeping. Even as the condition of the girl become worse and she was crying from pain and vomiting, no one paid any attention to her. No analyses were done and the girl's lower-than-normal temperature wasn't taken into consideration, Jana's mother told the Latvian daily Diena Dec. 6. The girl was hooked up to an intravenous drip and given pain killers, but it didn't help. Seeing that the girl's fingers were turning blue, a nurse suggested that they should be warmed up, the mother recalls. When Jana started to vomit red liquid, the nurse said she would go and wake up the doctor. However, the doctor didn't show up even then.

When the hospital's chief surgeon come to work at 8 a.m. and got ready for surgery, it was too late. Little Jana died on her way to the surgery room. The subsequent autopsy revealed that the girl had acute intestinal blockage and adhesions as a result of an appendix removed a year ago.

"Now, I'm often being blamed for not sounding an alarm," Jana's mother Kristina said. "But I couldn't have imagined that something wrong could happen with my child there as she was in the hospital under the supervision of medics," she told Diena.

Now Jana's mother, in an appeal published in the local newspaper, is asking anyone who has any complaints against the child health care department of Rezekne, to call her and share the information with her.

"My child had to become a victim of Rezekne doctors in order to shake them up and evaluate their performance," Kristina Koluko said.

The chief doctor of Rezekne hospital, Jazeps Korsaks, admitted his doctor's obvious negligence and irresponsibility. Gurjanova, who now faces criminal charges for her negligence, has offered her resignation. When the Welfare Ministry's inspectors responsible for control of the country's medical care system visited Rezekne, it became clear that the doctor had no excuse for not helping the child, head of the inspectors, Ruta Blodniece, told the news agency LETA. It is expected the investigation will be fully completed this week.

Doctor Gurjanova has offered to resign. Official health care institutions are working in the investigation and an official statment will be released by the end of this week. However, it's already become evident that Dr. Gurjanova didn't offer the girl timely medical help.