Inimõiguste giid

Kaasus

Dzieciak vs. Poola

Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
09.12.2008

Facts

The applicant, Mr Dzieciak, was arrested and placed in a pre-trial detention on suspicion of organised international drug-trafficking. At the time he was already suffering from a heart disease and had had two heart attacks. While being detained he was examined by doctors who decided that he should have a heart-bypass operation. Three appointments were scheduled for the surgery. The applicant submitted that he was informed of the first two appointments only after the proposed dates. The preventive measure against the applicant was not changed contrary to the suggestions of the doctors. Before the third appointed date for the operation, the applicant’s trial began. It lasted for several days. During that time the applicant was prevented from having any medical consultations as he was transferred to the trial court before the doctors' arrival at the detention centre and was returned to his cell when they had already gone off duty. The applicant fainted in the courtroom before the last hearing began. He was taken to a hospital where he died couple of days later. 

Complaint

The applicant’s wife complained that her husband had died in custody as a result of inadequate and belated medical assistance and that the authorities had contributed to his death.

Court's ruling

The Court considered that there is no satisfactory explanation as to why the applicant was not transferred to the surgery on the first two of the dates scheduled. Additionally, the Government did not contest that the applicant had attended the hearings in his case and so been denied access to the doctors, due to him being outside the detention centre during the doctors' hours of duty. Finally, the grounds given by the domestic authorities for extending the applicant's detention were particularly unsatisfactory given the serious state of his health and could not justify the overall period of his detention. 

The above elements were sufficient for the Court to rule that the quality and promptness of the medical care provided to the applicant during the four years of his pre-trial detention had put his health and life in danger, in breach of Poland's obligation to protect the lives of those held in custody.