We have a justice problem - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

We have a justice problem

I underwent surgery on my ankle after an accident I had five years ago. I was bedridden for months. I was experiencing inexplicable pain; I was saying, "It's as if something inside is drilling through my flesh." The doctor who performed the surgery claimed that my suffering had no physical reason, that my problem was psychological. Since he is a doctor, since he was educated in the field, I thought, "I'm sure he knows better than me," I kept quiet and waited for it to pass. Days passed, then weeks.  

 
Then one day, Mr. Doctor went on vacation and never came back. My check-up appointments had come and passed, but he was not coming back.
 
I had no choice but to go see another doctor. After the accident I was taken to the hospital, literally with my foot in my hand, and was taken into surgery almost in a passed out state. This time I had the chance to do some research; I chose one of Istanbul’s best orthopedics and traumatology expert. While I was thinking that the cast on my foot and the screws that were half out would be removed and I would then start physical therapy, the professor blurted out, “This surgery was not done properly.” When I realized he wasn’t joking, the ground slipped out from under my feet. A terrible period in which everything would start all over again was waiting for me and, if I wasn’t quick, my disability would increasingly get worse and become permanent. I went to see another doctor just to be sure. Without beating around the bush, he said the same thing. I thought, “three times is a charm,” and went to see a third doctor – who also repeated the same things. The procedure applied in my surgery was clearly incorrect.
 
I underwent the following surgery with the concern of my previous experience. How would I endure the same pain and suffering again? That is when I was shocked again. In the months-long recovery period post-operation, I did not experience suffering like I did previously.
 
That is when I understood there really was something wrong in my first surgery and that mistake was the reason I was experiencing horrific pain. One day, when I was finally putting away the mountain of hospital papers waiting at my bedside table, a detail I noticed helped me see more clearly what actually happened. In one of the X-rays taken after the first operation, I saw that one of the platinum screws placed in my foot bone had pushed out of the bone and was digging into my flesh. Looking at all the X-rays in chronological order, I saw a sharp end protruding out of the bone getting increasingly longer. It appears that the screw was going further and further inside my body since day one and that is the pain I was describing when I said, “It's as if something inside is drilling through my flesh," and what I was going through was not a psychological condition. I am not talking about something that is vague, but rather something that can be clearly seen by everybody who looks with a naked eye. It was similar to situations where doctors forget gauze bandages inside the patient when stitching them up.
 
Ultimately, I decided to sue the doctor who applied a wrong procedure on me, almost causing me to be crippled, who made me suffer excruciating pain for months and led me to believe that this was “psychological” and eventually left my treatment half way saying he was going on vacation, and the private hospital where he was working.
 
May God help those who are made to deal with hospitals and courts. Just as my test with hospitals was almost over, this time my test with courts had started. Cases that were postponed saying the judge did not come were followed by forensic appointments that were not given for months, forensic doctors refusing to see that a visible screw had drilled out of the bone and into the flesh, prosecutors whose posts were changed following the July 15, 2016 coup bid, hearings that were constantly postponed and reports that would not come because of a lack of staff. It has been four years and I am still waiting for those who made me go through all this in the prime of my life, during the most critical time in my career to face the consequences of their actions. I want justice. But I see that we are yet to get even half way in the prosecution process.
 
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What I shared above is a little snippet from my own life. The judiciary falls short of fulfilling its function in even a medical case that is tangibly and clearly wrong – based on this, you can guess how the course of more challenging cases like political ones follow. I am not even mentioning the more complex cases involving the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and FETÖ members’ dirty methods.
 
Surely the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has made major breakthroughs, especially in the area of health. It made major investments in outpatient clinics, operating theaters, new equipment, public private cooperations and city hospitals. However, you cannot make changes in the judiciary by modernizing buildings; the technology and new equipment provided to security departments do not make it easier for people to access justice. Because, similar to the health industry, just as everything depends on a good doctor, in the judiciary, it all depends on the judge, the prosecutor, the lawyer, et cetera. So it all depends on people, well-educated, hardworking professionals.
 
In my opinion, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu started the march, which is currently in its 18th day, based on the wrong reasons. Without mentioning the July 15 coup prior to the march he started following a case related to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks plot, he had said, “We do not want those who perpetrated the July 20 coup.” Referring to the night of the coup on the sixth day of his march, he said, “I was made a promise, we had three soldiers who were lynched, we have to defend their rights too. Their perpetrators must also be judged.” He repeated his “controlled coup” claims on a television channel on the 15th day. But Kılıçdaroğlu saying something wrong and unjust every time he opens his mouth does not mean we have no problems in terms of “justice.” In the Gezi Park events, “trees” were not the real problem, on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, “corruption” was not the real issue and in Kılıçdaroğlu’s march, “justice” may not be the main reason. However, just as we have problems such as environmentalism, such as transparency, we also have a problem – as a matter of fact, we have a huge issue – such as justice. Even though clearing the cryptoes within the judiciary is the most critical task, this is not all that needs to be done – this is only the beginning.

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