ECoHR -Judgment Asiye Genc v. Turkey – Death of new-born baby after being refused admission to hospital

European Court of Human Rights -Judgment Asiye Genc v. Turkey of 27 January 2015 – Death of new-born baby after being refused admission to hospital

Dr. Brigit Toebes, University of Groningen

In its judgment of 27 January 2015, the European Court of Human Rights dealt with  a prematurely born baby’s death in an ambulance, a few hours after birth, following the baby’s transfer between hospitals without being admitted for treatment.  The Court held that there had been a violation of the right to life in Article 2 ECHR because the Turkish authorities had failed to ensure the proper organisation and functioning of the public hospital service. The child died because it had not been offered any treatment. According to the Court, this situation constituted a denial of medical care such as to put a person’s life in danger. Secondly, the Court found that the Turkish judicial system’s response to the tragedy had not been appropriate for the purposes of shedding light on the exact circumstances of the child’s death.

This judgment forms part of a growing body of case law from the European Court of Human Rights addressing the State’s duty to provide adequate and timely medical services. By recognizing the duty to provide treatment, the Court clearly touches on the scope of the right to health, even though this right is not explicitly recognized in the ECHR. For more information (press release) click here and for the judgment (in French) click here

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