Mother complains about daughter’s treatment at Espoo’s Jorvi Hospital
Hospital denies withholding treatment from mentally disabled woman
Thursday, May 31st was the most critical day.
It is then that 20-year-old Eeva-Maria Tuomela nearly died.
Tuomela, from Lohja, had been admitted to Jorvi Hospital in Espoo for treatment for an intestinal blockage and pneumonia.
Her surgery went well, but in the early hours of Thursday the situation deteriorated significantly.
When Eeva-Maija’s mother Kaija Tuomela called Jorvi Hospital on Thursday morning, the nurse said that her daughter, who has a serious developmental disability, was in poor shape.
The mother rushed to the hospital and found her daughter whimpering.
She had scratched herself and was bleeding, and the bleeding wounds had not been treated.
The daughter’s inflammation levels were dangerously high.
An anaesthesiologist was called in at the mother’s insistence.
“The doctor said that Eeva-Maria would not be resuscitated, or treated actively, because her condition is poor”, Tuomela said.
She also said that a surgeon who arrived at the scene in the afternoon said the same thing.
“I said that I absolutely forbid leaving her untreated”, Kaija Tuomela says.
In her view, the surgeon had based the treatment decision on the views of the anaesthesiologist.
“On Thursday evening, when they started treating Eeva-Maria actively at my insistence, she started improving”, Tuomela says.
Later she was transferred to Lohja Hospital, closer to her home, and on Monday, June 4th she could go home.
“If I hadn’t gone to the hospital the child might have died. She would have died of the pain and anguish”, the mother said.
Eeva-Maria Tuomela does not speak herself, and was not able to express pain or desires with respect to her treatment.
Tuomela believes that her daughter’s disability is the reason for the withholding of treatment.
She says that she has never come across similar treatment at any of her daughter’s hospital visits.
“Nobody has ever said that we’ll just not treat her because she is like that”, Tuomela says.
The surgeon who performed the operation and Leena Halme, the supervisor of the doctor giving treatment, both sharply deny that treatment would have been stopped at any point.
Halme says that the doctor may have listened to the recommendations of the anaesthesiologist on restricting treatment and discussed the matter with the mother.
As the mother staunchly opposed this, treatment continued.
“What may have happened is that there was an attempt to discuss what would happen if the patient’s condition were to deteriorate, and that the mother would have misunderstood and thought that we were stopping treatment”, Halme says.
Helsingin Sanomat could not reach the doctor who treated Eeva-Maria Tuomela, and the anaesthesiologist would not comment on why he had considered “putting her outside intense treatment”, as had been written in the patient’s case history.
"I cannot say why this has been written here like this. An anaesthesiologist can only put forward an opinion”, Halme notes.
She also says that an anaesthesiologist never makes any final decisions on the treatment of a patient.
Such decisions are made by the doctor in whose care the patient is.
Halme also denies that the patient’s disability would have been a factor in the degree of dedication with which Eeva-Maria Tuomela was treated.