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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Patient prosecutes doctors who treated her brain-growth with leeches

This ineffective treatment lasted for about two years: her right ear was half-deaf, the woman became short-sighted, and her step was awkward

Doctors in Russia often complain that they are not really popular among patients and journalists who vehemently criticize them. But the following story proves that such criticism is quite correct in most cases.

Notary from the Moscow Region, Galina Solnyshkova, was diagnosed with osteochondrosis mistakenly at the time when the patient was suffering from brain-growth. The woman was treated for osteochondrosis for two years, and the wrong diagnosis and absolutely incorrect treatment left her deaf in one ear, half-blind and she by miracle avoided death. When she was happily saved, Galina brought an action against the negligent doctors and made them pay for the terrible mistake.

Today, Galina Solnyshkova is still reluctant to be photographed, as she does not quite like her looks after the poor treatment. She says, she looked even more terrible when was discharged from hospital: one of the eyes would not close, and doctors wanted to attach the eyelid. Galina persuaded them to wait a little, and did active exercises to make the eyelid close.

This 58-year-old woman is attractive and strong, and all of her clients know her for the resoluteness. In 2000, the Moscow Regional Notary Chamber, to which Galina Solnyshkova belongs as a notary public, concluded an insurance contract with a municipal polyclinic in Moscow's Presnensky District according to which officials of the Chamber could appeal to the medical institution for treatment. Galina always had strong health and did not expect she would have to visit the polyclinic at all. But in a year she had to come there as her health got poorer: she felt sick and giddiness, her hearing got weaker. A neuropathologist X-rayed Galina's spine and stated that she was suffering from osteochondrosis. This disease is typical to the majority of people who stay sitting all the workday long, Galina says. The doctor prescribed acupuncture and massage, but the treatment brought no results. The situation was even changing for the worse. Once, the woman fainted in a train on her way to the office. After that, she felt her eyesight got much worse. An oculist recommended to apply leeches to save the situation.

This ineffective treatment lasted for about two years. By the year of 2002, Galina's looks seriously changed for the worse: her right ear was half-deaf, she became short-sighted, and her step was awkward. Doctors were at a loss because of the hard patient and said it would be better for her to go into hospital. At that time, Galina realized the treatment was ineffective, that is why she decided to appeal to more competent doctors. A neuropathologist at Moscow's Burdenko Research Medical Institute made tomography of Galina's brain and diagnosed that she had brain-growth. When she heard the terrible diagnosis, Galina was not really scared. She got really shocked a bit later when realized she could have died because of the incorrect diagnosis and wrong treatment. The doctor at Burdenko Institute told her she could have become absolutely blind if she delayed for one week more. Moreover, she have died in two other weeks.

Gaina's lawyer, Svetlana Chirkova, stated at court that her client had been incorrectly diagnosed at the polyclinic. “She was treated for osteochondrosis, and her health got even worse. It was an independent expertise that could state if the woman's health got worse actually because of the wrong diagnosis, and the independent experts estimated that was actually so.”
    
The Moscow Health Department made a report saying that the symptoms of the patient when she appealed to the polyclinic suggested that computer tomography was to be done, but doctors did not recommend Galina to make tomography of the brain at all.

However, the respondent does not recognize the fault, and doctors at the polyclinic state that they saw no brain problems wit the patient when she came to the polyclinic.

We often say that each of us has the right to commit a mistake. Does this mean that doctors who rule their patients' lives can commit mistakes either? The Presnensky court of Moscow decided that the polyclinic administration must pay 25 thousand rubles (less than $1,000) as compensation for Galina's spending on the operation and 15 thousand rubles of moral damage. At that, Galina does not feel she is a winner in the situation, as her health will never improve because of the tragic medical mistake.

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