He fled from the St. Eugene in the middle of the night, with my pajamas still on. Nobody noticed or tried to stop her. Not only. Relatives and police were warned by doctors of his removal with great delay. Fragile and bewildered, Ubalda Monnati, 79 years old, a body was found after a week in a field of Cecchignola, a few kilometers away from the Eur hospital. Six years later the civil court of Rome condemned the ASL 2 and the private security institute in charge of security, a maxi-joint compensation of one million and three hundred thousand euros in favor of the heirs of the old woman. For the judge of the Civil Court of Rome, a “violation of the custody obligations for protection by the defendants in the hospital environment” would have been configured and this violation would also concern “the accessory rights of the hospital that violate the entrusting of women to staff for protective purposes instrumental to treatment “.
The judge in the sentence device refers to the so-called “hospitalization contract” that exists between the health facility and the patient. The law provides for the hospital’s obligation to supervise the patient in an “adequate” manner with respect to his condition, in order to prevent them from being harmed or subjected to third parties. And the condition that the lady was not a psychiatric inpatient or under the Tso regime (Compulsory medical treatment) would not be sufficient to exempt the staff from responsibilities. For the court, in fact, it was an elderly and therefore fragile woman, under the effect of a mild sedative, “not in optimal physical conditions (…) which required constant and careful monitoring”.
In short, an Ubalda, according to the judge, had to be ensured adequate attention in addition to purely medical care. But what happened in that summer of 2015? Ms. Monnati went to the emergency room on 11 August for a “hypertensive diabetic malaise”. At midnight and 38 minutes on August 13, the camera placed in front of the main entrance in via dell’Umanesimo, wearing a nightgown, parades in front of the brigade booth without anyone lifting a finger. An “anomaly”, reads the sentence, “which pushed even an average citizen to take a protective action”. The medical staff would have noticed with guilty delay of the disappearance of Ubalda, the surveillance would have been alerted after two hours and the police only at 3.40. The body of the old woman was found on 20 August.
“This is a historic ruling in Italy – states the lawyer Francesco Maria Graziano who followed the story with his colleagues Marialetizia Giacobelli, Rina Izzo and Gennaro Gadaleta – a turning point for similar cases recognizes the duty of doctors and a structure health care to watch over their patients in a fragile condition ». The ASL and Italpol will be able to appeal against the first instance sentence. Meanwhile, Ubalda’s family members say they are «very satisfied with the sentence that allowed justice and relations to be made, a painful issue for our family. However, we would like this victory to be important not only for us but for all families who could find themselves in the same situation as us: such dramas should no longer happen ».