Leave a request

Court Completes Consideration of Criminal Case Against Doctors at Private Clinic Network

News date: 3 April 2024

The Solomianskyi District Court of Kyiv completed the consideration of a widely-publicized case involving two Kyiv doctors accused of improper discharge of their duties as medical practitioners (Article 140 (1) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), which resulted in the patient’s death.

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.

The pre-trial investigation initiated in response to the request from the victim’s relatives extended over a period of two years. Subsequently, the court commenced the substantive review of the case on 29 March 2023, which lasted one additional year.

In practice, the majority of cases falling under Article 140 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine fail to culminate in a verdict, primarily due to the courts’ inability to adjudicate cases within the statutory three-year deadline mandated for bringing guilty persons to criminal responsibility under criminal law.

“In both legal circles and within the patient community, the discussion regarding the extension of the statute of limitations for holding medical professionals criminally liable for errors has been ongoing, –remarked Alla Tsymanovska, a medical law attorney at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm, representing the interests of victims. – Victims often endure lengthy waits, sometimes up to a year, just to obtain the findings of the commission’s forensic medical examination, which serves as the primary evidence of a medical error. By the time the case reaches court, defendants employ various tactics to postpone or delay proceedings, ultimately filing motions to discontinue proceedings based on the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations. In such circumstances, patients and their families are left with minimal prospects for fairness and justice, with only a few cases being resolved within the legal timeframe. We anticipate that the highly-publicized case of Anastasia Ostrovska, which has sparked significant public outcry, will compel lawmakers to reconsider and extend the statute of limitations.”

The next court hearing in the case of Anastasia Ostrovska, at which the verdict is expected to be announced, is scheduled for 8 April 2024.