In the Samara region, a woman will be tried for refusing to treat her newborn daughter, and she died. According to the investigation, the young mother knew that the girl could develop infectious diseases, but did not consent to her examination, did not undergo medical examinations and buy medicines. As a result, the child was brought to the hospital in critical condition and could not be saved. Izvestia found out what responsibility parents bear for the life of their child, in what cases it is possible to refuse medical care and whether doctors can provide it despite the ban.
Case under two articles
In the Samara region, a woman will be tried for refusing to treat her newborn daughter, which is why she died. About it reported in the regional department of the Investigative Committee of Russia (TFR).
According to the investigation, in April 2020, a woman gave birth to a girl. Despite the fact that doctors warned the young mother about the high risk of developing infectious diseases in her newborn, she refused to further examine and treat her daughter in the hospital.
Further the mother did not provide her daughter with the necessary medical examinations, taking medications and did not follow the doctors’ recommendations on feeding. As a result, the girl’s condition worsened, and her father took her to the district hospital in serious condition.
– Resuscitation measures did not give a result, the child died, – noted in the TFR.
Photo: IZVESTIYA / Konstantin Kokoshkin
A criminal case was opened against the woman under two articles – 156 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (failure to fulfill the duties of raising a minor) and 109 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (causing death by negligence). The investigation of the case has been completed, and it has been sent to court – the accused faces up to three years in prison.
Banned from conducting therapy
Sad situations, as in the Samara region, are not uncommon. As a rule, they include infected women who do not want to treat their children, and HIV dissidents. So, in 2019 in Irkutsk condemned a woman who did not allow her HIV-infected child to be treated, which led to his death.
A 30-year-old Russian woman did not allow doctors to give her newborn baby immune therapy, which would block the replicative activity of HIV and the development of concomitant diseases. Some time later, the child died.
During the investigation, the mother did not admit her guilt. The court found her guilty of causing death by negligence and sentenced her to a year of corrective labor.
A year earlier in Ryazan sentenced spouses who “treated” the child with prayers. The boy was born with a congenital disease, and doctors prescribed lifelong therapy for him, but his mother and father refused to give him the necessary drugs, considering them harmful.
Soon the baby’s condition worsened and he died. A negligent death case was opened against his parents. In court, the couple pleaded guilty and repented – the father was sentenced to a year of restriction of freedom, and the mother to nine months.
In 2017, a similar story happened in the Perm Territory: a resident of Krasnokamsk was sentenced to one and a half years of restriction of freedom after the death of a child. The woman refused to treat her son, who was infected with HIV, because she believed that he was “only getting worse” from taking the medication.
The boy died at the age of eight. As the investigation found out, he did not receive antiretroviral therapy for three years and did not visit doctors. In court, the mother repented of what she had done and pleaded guilty.
In the same year, the court in Tyumen sentenced An HIV dissident who refused to treat her little daughter. Knowing about her illness, the woman did not test the newborn girl for infection and breastfeed her, ignoring the doctors’ advice not to do so.
The mother did not give medicine to her daughter and did not show her to the doctors, and eventually brought the situation to the point that at the age of three the girl died of HIV infection. The Russian woman explained her actions by her belief that “no HIV exists”. The woman was sentenced to six months of corrective labor.
When can parents be punished?
Russian legislation does not contain a direct prohibition on either the treatment of a child at home, or the refusal of hospitalization or further treatment. According to the lawyer Venera Shaydullina, according to Art. 20 323-FZ “On the basics of protecting the health of citizens in the Russian Federation”, the start of treatment for children is conditional on the consent of one of the parents (legal representatives) to medical intervention.
At the same time, a parent can refuse treatment or hospitalization of children – in this case, the doctor must explain the consequences of the refusal and offer alternative treatment.
“However, there are several exceptions for the application of this right,” adds Yuri Telegin, leading lawyer of the European Legal Service. – For example, if medical intervention is necessary on urgent grounds to eliminate the threat to a person’s life, or the condition does not allow expressing one’s will, or there are no legal representatives.
Photo: TASS / Sergey Malgavko
The exclusion also applies to persons suffering from diseases that pose a danger to others, including severe mental disorders, persons who have committed crimes, and when conducting forensic medical examinations or providing palliative care.
“Refusal of medical care in itself cannot be considered punishable,” says the source of Izvestia. – Despite this, in the event of the death of a child, which is in direct causal relationship with the behavior of an adult who has refused medical intervention, a parent can be held liable under Part 1 of Art. 109 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – for causing death by negligence.
This norm, according to the law, provides as a punishment correctional labor for up to two years, or restriction of liberty for up to two years, or forced labor for up to two years, or imprisonment for the same period.
As an example, Telegin cites the entered into force sentence a resident of Perm. The court sentenced the woman to a punishment of six months in prison for not taking into account the recommendations of the attending physician after being discharged from the hospital with the child, which were expressed in observation by the local pediatrician, gastroenterologist and planned hospitalization in the surgical department for a control examination. The mother did not take the child to the doctors and refused to be re-hospitalized – as a result, he developed serious complications and died.
Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze
A case was opened against the mother for causing death by negligence; in court, the woman pleaded guilty.
Help despite the ban
According to Venus Shaydullina, relations between parents and children are regulated by the Family and Civil Codes, and in the event that parents fail to fulfill their responsibilities for raising a child, by the Criminal and Administrative Codes.
– Failure to take measures for timely examination and treatment of children, bringing children to a state that threatens their life and health by their inaction is a violation by parents of children’s rights in the field of health protection, the lawyer emphasizes.
For acts directed against minors, namely failure to fulfill the duties of raising a minor (Article 156 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for criminal liability for parents in the form of fines, correctional, forced labor and imprisonment.
So, the prohibition of parents to provide medical care to a minor falls under Art. 124.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (obstruction of the provision of medical care). Art. 125 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for liability for “leaving without the help of a child who is in a state of danger to life or health.”
Photo: Izvestia / Alexander Kazakov
However, even if the parents do not consent to the treatment of the child, help should still be provided to him – if it is a question of saving his life.
– According to clause 1 of part 10 of Art. 20 of the Law “On the Fundamentals of Health Protection in the Russian Federation”, medical intervention is allowed by the decision of a council of doctors, and if it is impossible to collect a consultation, by the attending (duty) doctor or in court, – concludes the interlocutor of Izvestia.