Several laws broken when pregnant woman was deported

09.06.2021 - 14:27
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Pexels
The Directorate of Health believes that the doctor working for Útlendingastofnun (the Directorate of Immigration) broke the law on healthcare workers, the law on the issue of medical certificates, and the law on patient rights in the case of an Albanian woman who was deported, 36 weeks pregnant, in autumn 2019—a journey to Albania that took 19 hours.

This comes from the summary of the Directorate of Health decision provided to RÚV by Claudia Wilson, the woman’s lawyer in Iceland. Claudia could not send the entire document for data protection reasons. The decision was first reported on by Vísir last week. 

The Albanian woman’s case drew harsh criticism in Iceland at the time Útlendingastofnun decided to deport her, along with her husband and two-year-old child. The decision was made despite her advanced pregnancy and doctors at Landspítali national university hospital believed she was not fit to fly. 

A certificate issued by Heilsugæslan (the capital region healthcare centres operator) the day before deportation was used in justification. Útlendingastofnun claimed it relies on such certificates because it has no access to medical records or other data from the healthcare system. 

The Directorate of Health opened an investigation into the case, treating seriously the question of whether expert advice had been ignored. 

Claudia received the final decision in that investigation on Friday, and it raises several serious concerns about how the certificate was issued that became the basis for the family’s deportation. 

The summary shared with RÚV states that the doctor should not have been able to issue a certificate declaring the woman fit to fly without examining her personally. It was not sufficient that the same doctor had examined the woman for the issue of a similar certificate 13 days previously. It was necessary to establish the precise length of pregnancy, the likelihood of premature labour, and the risk of blood clots in order to issue the certificate; none of which was carried out. 

The summary also states that the Directorate of Health believes the doctor should have sought the assistance of at least one other expert, such as a midwife or obstetrician, “who could have assessed the situation with regard to the long journey, possible premature birth, or possible pregnancy-related illness, such as pre-eclampsia". 

The summary states that the doctor in question did not ensure the woman received adequate and proper health services, and it is therefore the opinion of the Directorate of Health that the doctor breached the laws on healthcare workers, the issue of medical certificates, and on the rights of patients. 

Caludia told Vísir her client plans to sue, “especially because she is still living with the consequences of these violations”. 

Click to follow RÚV English on Facebook.