Doctors Not Guilty for Patient’s Death, But Attorneys Continue to
12:37, October 6, 2012
In October of last year, Vanadzor resident Vachagan Markosyan, 60, was
rushed to Vanadzor’s No. 1 Hospital named after Areshyan for an injury
to his spinal region and chest, saying that he was injured due to a
careless fall in the foyer.
He was taken by ambulance to the hospital on the same day where he
died one hour later. Meanwhile, Dr. Vardan Mkhitaryan, examining him
at the hospital, had noted that the patient had tuberculosis and one
side fracture. The doctor treating him, Georgy Iloyan, assigned him to
the hospital for infectious diseases, since he wasn’t allowed to keep
a patient with tuberculosis in the hospital complex.
According to the autopsy in the criminal case launched following the
patient’s death, the cause of death was traumatic and hemorrhagic
shock. Dr. Mkhitaryan’s diagnosis was wrong; he hadn’t taken note of
the blood in the patient’s lungs; instead of 4 side fractures, he had
noted only one, while Dr. Iloyan had given the wrong treatment.
Charges were laid against the doctors and they were arrested. They
were kept for 3 days in detention facilities after which a motion for
imprisonment was made. The court sustained the motion, however,
applying an alternative punishment – a bail of 500,000 AMD (about
$1,227 USD), which the doctors paid the following day and were
It’s important to note that the incident took place in October,
material was gathered and prepared since that time, and several times
the doctors were called for questioning, but they were arrested 7
months later, with a phone call to come to the police precinct.
After the doctors were arrested, detained and subsequently released on
bail, the defense motioned the investigative body to appoint another
autopsy. On Sept. 3 of this year, the second autopsy report was
produced, which refuted the first one. The new report cites the cause
of death as an acute respiratory failure conditioned by the
tuberculosis. Accordingly, there was no shortcoming or mistake on the
doctors’ part that would lead to the patient’s death.
After receiving this conclusion, the investigative body, in
particular, Lori Police Investigator Taron Tadevosyan, however,
decided on Sept. 20 to assign a new investigation, explaining that
there are two contradictory conclusions in the case, one of which
supports the doctors’ guilt; the other, their innocence. Meanwhile, as
Dr. Vardan Mkhitaryan’s attorney Ruben Hakobyan states, the
investigator’s decision to assign a new autopsy is unlawful.
“The investigator says there are opposing conclusions, let’s appoint a
third. It turns out, there’s one wrong and one right conclusion, a
third is assigned to see if the wrong was wrong and the right was
right. However, by assigning a second autopsy, they determined that
the first [autopsy] was wrong. The grounds for assigning another
autopsy are clearly defined by law: a repeat examination is assigned
when the conclusion from the initial examination is determined to be
wrong. Consequently, when the investigator sustains our motion and
appoint another autopsy it means that he recognized the first
conclusion, that the doctors are guilty in the patient’s death, was
wrong, unfounded,” explains the attorney, though he’s convinced that a
third autopsy report will confirm the doctors’ innocence.
“If a third autopsy takes place, the criminal proceedings have to be
dropped, which already at this stage should’ve been dropped. When the
criminal case proceedings are finally dropped, on the grounds of
acquittal, that there was no crime in the doctors’ actions, I will
take action so that those giving instructions for illegal charges and
illegal arrest and those fulfilling such illegal orders are subject to
the appropriate responsibility. In any case, they have to draw some
conclusions for their wrong decisions,” says the attorney, Hakobyan.