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An Established Network of Private Clinics Faces a Trial After a Patient Dies

News date: 31 March 2023

Two Kyiv medical specialists were put on trial for improper discharge of their duties (Article 140 (1) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), which resulted in the patient’s death. The office of the Attorney General accuses doctors of negligent performance of their professional duties, which resulted in grave consequences for the patient.

In 2020, 35-year-old Anastasia Ostrovska, wife of the ex-Minister of Health of Ukraine Alexander Kvitashvili (2014-2016), was treated in the Kyiv city network of private clinics. The patient sought medical assistance for a simple elective laparoscopic surgery to remove gallbladder stones. After an unsuccessful surgical intervention, doctors from a private medical network performed three more operations within a month, which led to the death of the patient.

After the victim’s relatives requested the investigation, a high-profile case took more than two years to complete. To collect unconditional evidence for the investigation and send the case to court, the attorneys of Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm, representing the injured party, carried out their own investigation. The team of the law firm initiated a clinical expert commission of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to assess the quality of medical care and assistance in the network of private clinics. A commission forensic medical examination was also carried out. The evidence obtained and the conclusions of the examinations indicate a cause-and-effect connection between the actions of doctors and the deterioration of the patient’s health.

“When there is a medical error, it is very difficult to obtain justice in Ukraine,” says Alla Tsymanovska, an attorney specializing in medical law at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm, who represents the interests of the victims. – In Ukraine, medical errors, according to WHO data, take the lives of at least 5-7 patients every day and cause disability of 25-30 people who seek medical help. Nevertheless, only a few such cases make it to court and are prosecuted each year because of the complexity of investigating and gathering evidence”.

The Main Investigation Department of the National Police of Kyiv has established shortcomings in the provision of medical care. The patient could have been saved by avoiding these deficiencies. Solomianskyi District Court of Kyiv started consideration of the case on its merits on 29 March 2023.