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10 Dec, 2019 15:04

Moscow family may lose custody of 'perfectly healthy' 5yo daughter kept in clinic since birth

Moscow family may lose custody of 'perfectly healthy' 5yo daughter kept in clinic since birth

Russia's child welfare service is considering suing for custody of a little girl, who has been kept in a private clinic since birth. Her parents insist their daughter's life is at risk if she leaves, contrary to doctors' opinions.

The bizarre story of the girl, who has spent practically her entire life in a private children's hospital in Moscow, was made public this week. The fourth and youngest child in her family, she was born premature and underdeveloped, but was nurtured to good health over several months, according to media reports.

She was brought back to the hospital shortly after being discharged, however, with her parents claiming that she had stopped breathing. They asked for additional medical supervision.

This video reportedly shows the mother of S. talking to child service officials.

That was over five years ago, and the girl, who was identified only as 'S' in reports, has spent the intervening years in a hospital ward, cared for by medics and nannies hired by the family. Doctors say there is absolutely no medical need for her to remain in hospital, but her parents simply refuse to accept this diagnosis.

The clinic even tried to make the child's parents vacate the room by securing a court order, according to Interfax news agency, but the family simply would not comply. And evicting a minor patient by force would be a crime.

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There is now considerable controversy over the entire situation. The family is understood to be wealthy and is willing to foot the hefty bill for the medical care they desire for their daughter. The girl's living conditions at the hospital, which is among the most prestigious in Moscow, are considered adequate for a child.

But there is another view: that the isolation and lack of contact with other children that the girl faces in hospital should be considered parental negligence.

"As part of the lawsuit we will request a comprehensive evaluation of the child and her parents," the Moscow Department for Labor and Social Protection said on Tuesday, after the story became national news in Russia.

According to news website Meduza, which was the first to break the story, the older children in the family are home-schooled and rarely leave their luxury home. Their mother is allegedly obsessed with health and says her kids have serious allergies. The parents say the interest of activists and media outlets in their family is violating their privacy and must stop.

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