Bulgarian Doctor Comments

29 July 2004

According to information pro-vided to the ERRC by the Sofia-based Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), on May 1, 2004, 22-year old Mr Mihail Tsvetanov, a Romani man from the northeastern Bulgarian town of Isperih, died in his home. The previous day Mr Tsvetanov was released from hospital and, ac-cording to the information pro-vided by the medical personnel to his parents, he was in good con-dition.

According to the testimony of Ms Anguelina Todorova, Mr Tsvetanov's mother, to the BHC, Mr Tsvetanov was admitted to the hospital due to stomach pains on April 16, 2004 and held for sev-eral days, though he was never diagnosed with an illness. At around 10:30 AM on April 21, MrTsvetanov complained of an acute stomach ache to his father, Mr Mihail Todorov, who was visiting. Mr Todorov asked the nurses to call for a doctor to examine his son but was reportedly told to wait. Following repeated requests by Mr Todorov, a nurse called Dr Krastev, Mr Tsvetanov's doctor. However, Dr Krastev failed to arrive. Despite repeated requests by Mr Todorov that a doctor ex-amine his son who continued to experience persistent sharp ab-dominal pains, only at 6:30 PM did a doctor examine Mr Tsvetanov. Dr Minkov established that Mr Tsvetanov had a perforated ulcer and required an emergency opera-tion. After the operation, Mr Tsvetanov was released on April 30. Ms Todorova stated that Dr Krastev informed her that her son was in good condition.

At around 3:00 AM on May 1, Mr Tsvetanov told his mother that he felt seriously ill and that he was about to lose consciousness. Mr and Ms Todorov called an ambu-lance, which arrived only after one hour and a second phone call though they live less than one kilo-metre from where the ambulance service is located. When it arrived, the medical team established the death of Mihail Tsvetanov.

On May 3, Mr Todorov met Dr Krastev at the hospital to ask for his son's medical file. Mr Todorov demanded that Dr Krastev explain why, after he stated Mr Tsvetanov was in good health, his son had died. Dr Krastev then allegedly stated, "It is not a big thing – one Gypsy less." In the following days, Mr Todorov went to the hospital several times to obtain the medical file but each time was denied access by Dr Krastev who claimed that the fa-ther did not need the document.

Mr and Ms Todorov filed a law-suit against the hospital in Isperih. The BHC provided legal represen-tation in the case. (BHC)


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