REPORT Nº 69/02 1
ADMISSIBILITY
PETITION 419/01
LAURA ALBÁN CORNEJO
ECUADOR
October 23, 2002
I.

SUMMARY

1.On May 31, 2001 Carmen Susana Cornejo de Albán, on behalf of her husband, Bismarck
Wagner Albán Sanchez and herself, (hereinafter “the petitioners”) submitted a petition to the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”)
against the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter “the State”) in which it alleged the violation of the
following rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the
Convention” or “the American Convention”): the right to life (Article 4) the right to humane
treatment (Article 5), the right to information (Article 13), and the right to due process and
judicial protection (Articles 8 and 25), in violation of the obligations set forth in Article 1(1) to
the detriment of their daughter Laura Susana Albán Cornejo, all of Ecuadorian nationality.
2. The allegations of the petitioner in this case concern medical malpractice. Laura Albán
Cornejo entered the Metropolitan Hospital in Quito, a private hospital, on Sunday December
13, 1987 suffering from severe headaches. She was diagnosed with "meningitis bacteriana,"
and was placed in intensive care for one day and then transferred to room Nº 026 until
December 18, 1987 the date on which she died. Dr. Ramiro Montenegro Lopez, the attending
physician, was the physician in charge of the patient, but Dr. Fabian Ernesto Espinoza Cuesta,
the resident physician, was the one who administered the 10 ampoules of morphine to the
patient on December 17th, which caused her death. The parents, who were with their daughter
when she died, charged medical malpractice and negligence and stated that no doctor or nurse
was present at the time of her death. The malpractice involved in this case is criminalized and
set forth in Articles 456 and 457 of the Ecuadorian Penal Code, but no one has been brought to
justice for these criminal acts. The State maintains that the petition should be declared
inadmissible in light of the fact that domestic remedies have not been exhausted.
3. In this report, the Commission analyzes information submitted in accordance with the
American Convention and it concludes that the petition complies with the requirements set
forth in Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention. Consequently, the Commission decides
to declare the case admissible, to notify the parties of this decision, and to continue with the
analysis of the merits relative to the alleged violations of articles 1, 8, and 25 of the American
Convention. Also, the Commission decides to publish the report in its Annual Report.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

4. On July 3, 2001, the Commission transmitted the complaint concerning Laura Albán Cornejo
to the Government of Ecuador. On October 16, 2001, the Government of Ecuador responded to
the allegations in the complaint alleging that the petitioners had failed to exhaust their
available domestic remedies.
III.

POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES

A.

Position of the Petitioners

5. On December 13, 1987 Laura Susana Albán Cornejo, 20 years of age, single, a student in
the fifth semester of her studies in Sociology, entered the private Metropolitan Hospital in
Quito, complaining of severe headaches. She was also suffering from high temperature and
1 Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo, an Ecuadorian national, did not participate in this case in compliance with Article 17 of the
Commission’s Rules of Procedure.

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