Azerbaijan: woman dies before receiving medical assistance 15 hours after calling ambulance
Baku resident Viktor Shaposhnikov published the following story on his Facebook page. In the comments section, he asks if a crime was committed. The answer came immediately: yes, it was a violation Article 142 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan – refusal to provide assistance to a patient.
“My mother-in-law had an inoperable meningioma. Her condition was more or less stable. On Wednesday evening, however, her condition worsened, as it had several times in the past.
“By the morning of Thursday, June 4, it became clear that it was necessary to call an ambulance as she was completely unable to be moved and there was no way for us to transport her ourselves.
“The ambulance arrived. When they found that she had a small temperature (at that time 37.2 C) (the body’s temperature rises when there is cerebral edema), the regular ambulance turned around and left, saying that we had to call the COVID team.
“We called, they arrived, and did nothing but conduct an analysis. They said that we ourselves need to go to the district clinic, get a referral, call the ambulance again and try (on our own) to find a hospital that will accept us, and then ask the ambulance to take us there.
“We went to the clinic and they turned us away, saying that doctors are not making house calls and that there is therefore no way for us to get a referral. They said that we should continue to call the ambulance, as they should be the ones to respond in these cases, and not the clinics.
“We called the ambulance again, they didn’t want to send anyone, but still they sent a vehicle, and at this point, I think I had already started swearing and yelling, but I don’t remember.
“When the ambulance once again arrived, it was already about midday on Thursday. The temperature was above 38 C, and it was evident that my mother-in-law was severely dehydrated and unable to eat or drink.
“The ambulance said that they were unable to do anything, that it was impossible to take her anywhere without the results of her test, and that even if they take her away, they’ll have nowhere to take her. The ambulance wrote out a prescription for an analgesic, dipyrone, in order to bring down her temperature, and at our request, gave her an injection of dipyrone right there, and then left.
A familiar doctor came and helped giver her an IV. She got a little better.
We waited for the results of her COVID test until the morning.
On Friday morning, we realized that we couldn’t just sit and wait around, and so we called the ambulance again. The first call we made was at 11:17 in the morning.
They picked up and told us that since she still had a fever, they would have to send the COVID team, but no one came. We called every 30-60 minutes and sent in a new request, which were all accepted, and they told us to wait and that the ambulance would come.
We tried to treat her all day according to the recommendations and guidance of a doctor we knew, but were unable to even reduce her fever.
We called the ambulance 6 or 7 times throughout the day.
Closer to the evening time, we found another doctor who prescribed her medicine according to her symptoms.
And yes, during all this time, we were trying to negotiate with private clinics, but they are not obliged to accept these kinds of patients, unlike state clinics.
Toward Friday evening, I ran around pharmacies (as I had for the past few days) and bought new medication, but when I got home, it was clear that it was too late.
My mother-in-law passed away at 2:24 a.m. on June 6. 15 hours 7 minutes had passed since we had first called the ambulance.
We called the ambulance for a death certificate, and they said, ‘Allah rehmet elesin [peace be upon her] – ed.], but you called us earlier today, didn’t you? Didn’t someone come?’
An ambulance arrived to give us the certificate 40-50 minutes after we called.
Her COVID test results came back negative about three and a half days after the analysis and two days after death.”