Doctors not to blame for sick Georgian girl

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The medical professionals who cared for the Georgian girl, Renate, who was sent back to Poland in November 2012, did not make any mistakes.

On arrival in Poland, the six-year-old girl was discovered to have Acute Leukemia.

The safety and healthcare administration and Public Prosecution conducted a study and found that the caregivers of Renate were not guilty of negligence.

Alex Proimos

Renate and her family came to The Netherlands in June 2012, from Poland. The Netherlands turned the family away, because according to European treaties, the country where asylum seekers first register, is responsible for the assessment of the application.

The Inspectorates agree that the transfer of medical information between the authorities involved was poor, resulting in Renate not being diagnosed with Acute Leukemia earlier. Once back in Poland it became clear the girl was seriously ill. According to the Inspectorates the late diagnosis did not negatively impact the course and treatment of the disease.

It is not the first time Inspectorates criticize the poor communication between various authorities about the health status of asylum seekers. The same was the case with the Russian Aleksandr Dolmatov, who committed suicide while detained in the Netherlands. The National Ombudsman, Alex Brenninkmeijer, also criticized the government for focusing on safety risks and controlling costs, and not nearly enough on the human aspect.

State Secretary of Security and Justice, Fred Teeven, recognizes the criticism of the Inspectorates. He points out that since the issue Dolmatov steps were taken to improve the situation. A coöperation agreement between authorities allows physicians to share medical information quicker. A possible workaround could be to have the asylum seekers take their own medical file with them during a transfer. The medical confidentiality is another hurdle in exchanging medical information with asylum seeker that are not capable of communicating adequately, according to the Inspectorates.

VluchtelingenWerk Nederland is shocked that Renate could have been diagnosed in The Netherlands, had the medical information been transferred properly. Even though the poor communication did not have disastrous consequences for the course and treatment of the disease in this case, it just as easily could have turned out badly, according to a spokesperson for the organization.