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Time runs out for 90-year-old deportee
Soon to be 91-year-old Ganna Chyzhevska with great-grandson Elvin

Time runs out for 90-year-old deportee

Published: 18 Oct 2011 11:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Oct 2011 11:58 GMT+02:00

90-year-old Ganna Chyzhevska, suffering from dementia and heart disease, is scheduled to be deported to Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon, after all efforts by her family to keep her with them in Sweden have failed.

”She stayed over at my house yesterday and woke up screaming in the middle of the night, but I managed to calm her down,” granddaughter Anna Otto told The Local on Tuesday morning.

According to Otto, her grandmother doesn't quite understand what is happening to her.

”She sleeps a lot. And she can't believe anyone would take her away from her own daughter,” Otto said.

When Chyzhevska’s husband died of cancer eight years ago, her daughter and granddaughter, resident in Sweden since 1995 and Swedish citizens, applied for residency on her behalf based on family connections.

Her application has been denied seven times by the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket), despite Chyzhevska being in poor health and her family in Sweden wanting to care for her.

The most recent appeal, when Chyzhevska and her family were given a two-week reprieve to be able to prove that she is too old and ill to be moved from her family, was turned down by the Migration Board.

Ingvar Karlsson, expert on dementia, from the Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg, wrote in his review of Chyzhevska's case that her confusion is likely to become irreversible and potentially lethal to the nonagenarian woman.

But the medical counsel that the Migration Board used did not think that this was enough to keep her in the country.

”They said that as it isn't her present condition but how it will become more serious if she is moved that is the problem; this argument won't hold,” Otto said.

According to Otto, no preparations have been made in the Ukraine to meet her grandmother when she gets off the flight.

”No, no one will be there to meet her. First the [Migration] Board told me it was none of their business what happened at the other end. Later, they asked me to accompany her there, but I can't,” Otto said.

The long process has left Otto shaken but determined to make as many people as possible know how the Migration Board has handled the case.

”I have believed the whole time that it will work out in the end. But it isn't about just my grandmother any more, they have treated many others just as abominable,” said Otto.

As a last resort, Otto will attempt to talk to the airline which operates the flight her grandmother is scheduled to board on Tuesday afternoon, and inform them of her condition.

”I have brought with me the medical certificates and I am hoping that the air personnel will refuse to let her board the plane,” Otto told The Local on Tuesday morning from a taxi bound for the airport.

According to the medical experts consulted by the family, Chyzhevska's dementia means that she is likely to react strongly and aggressively to being removed from all that is familiar to her.

”To me it is clear that Ganna in the case of deportation very likely will enter a state of severe confusion. To let a confused, motorically impaired and potentially aggressive person travel by air is not possible,” wrote Karlsson.

He also pointed out that sedatives are not an option, as dementia patients get more confused if sedatives are given.

The rules of the Ukrainian airline, Aerosvit, state that if there are reasons to presume that a passenger requires special aid from the airline, or if the the passenger is likely to cause discomfort or danger to themselves or other passengers, the airline has the right to deny the passenger to board the flight.

”If the airline follow their own rules they can't actually let her board the plane,” Otto said.

However, by the early afternoon Otto had not managed to get anyone to look at the medical certficates she had brought with her.

The next step, after making another attempt at the airline, Otto's intends to appeal to the Migration Board for her grandmother to be allowed to stay an additional two months in Sweden.

”Then it will all be about preparations. She'll need a TB-vaccine before going, and I will have to try to make arrangements to go with her,” Otto said.

Otto, resident in Sweden for over 15 years, does not want to leave the country.

”I have built my life here and would have to start from scratch finding accommodation and a job. Not to mention that I have a baby son. It won't be the easiest, trying to convince his Swedish father that we should all move to the Ukraine. It is not a desirable change, let's put it that way,” she told The Local.

The deportation of the soon-to-be 91-year-old Chyzhevska has been criticised by the Swedish Red Cross, urging the agency to retry their decision.

"It feels both absurd and inhumane to deport a 91-year-old who hasn't got a single member of family in her country of origin," wrote Ingela Holmertz of the Swedish Red Cross (Svenska Röda Korset) in a statement.

The Swedish Dementia Association (Demensförbundet) also issued a statement in support of Chyzhevska's case.

"Ganna probably hasn't got that much longer to live, let her spend her last years with family, let her die with dignity," wrote chairwoman Stina-Clara Hjulström.

Supporters of the Chyzhevska case were being urged through Facebook and Twitter to join a protest at Arlanda airport at 1pm on Tuesday.

The flight bound for the Ukraine is scheduled to leave Stockholm Arlanda Airport at 3.55pm on Tuesday.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:57 October 18, 2011 by Abe L
It's outrageous that her application was denied 7 times and she's still here. She should have been forcefully deported the first time, al be int on a chartered military plane if the regular airlines won't take her.

There is a reason your application gets denied and it's not acceptable regardless of any sad stories to say in Sweden afterwards.

Old people requiring healthcare only cost the Swedish taxpayer money and won't contribute their selves anymore. No reason whatsoever to let them in.
13:06 October 18, 2011 by Addendum
May your penis shrivel up as small and black as your heart.
13:07 October 18, 2011 by Redbee
This is the souless decision by the red tape brigade who treat everyone as a number without considering individual cases. I myself have only family in Sweden but though getting on i am in good health and own my own home and have state and small works pension ,.I wonder if although in the EU i would be treated in the same way if i needed to be near my own family becauses i live in a country with a national health service and i have no private health care .You see a different side of sweden when you read whats reported in the press .I wonder if the royals could intervene ,no i thought not .
13:08 October 18, 2011 by justanotheruser
Just so SAD ...

ever more for "Abe L" i hope you won't end up like that in your 90's
13:14 October 18, 2011 by Frobobbles
A sad case of spineless politicians and formalism without empathy.
13:16 October 18, 2011 by Miss Kitten
Be that as it may, I fail to understand why after the death of her husband, she wasn't permitted to stay with her immediate family now living in Sweden. She's already been here for eight years and has at best one year of life left. Therefore, she will cost the Swedish tax payer very little.

Furthermore, she's physically and emotionally unfit to travel, but Migrationsverket in their infinite wisdom have decided otherwise despite the medical certificates stating these facts.

At this point it's more or less the same circumstances as a dependent child not being able to leave its parents.
13:17 October 18, 2011 by engagebrain
Could she not apply for asylum in Sweden.

Sweden is not such a poor country that we can't afford deceny.
13:23 October 18, 2011 by Corvinus
I'm with Abe on this one..why open the floodgates to health-care tourists who then have to be paid for by a system they never contributed anything to? The ones at fault in my opinion are her selfish relatives who refuse to leave their cushy life here to care for her. Yes it would be "undesireable" but sometimes you have to suck it up and deal with it. It's undesireable for my tax money to be spent dealing with other people's laziness.

Yes it is unfortunate for the old lady to be having these issues but that doesn't equate to a get out of jail free card for disregarding the rules everybody else has to follow. It was her selfish kin that got her into this situation by illegaly bringing her to the country. If I ever find myself in her situation I wouldn't hope for an understanding foreign government, I'd hope for relatives with the decency to put their own interests behind them and care for me.
13:32 October 18, 2011 by Grokh
i guess result of taking way too many people that didnt diserve, the migration board became heartless.

However for someone to be denied 7 times... there has to be more to this story.

Can her relatives afford to have her and take care of her ? but even then ive seen dozens of useless arabic people leeching on help because the are from war country and refuse to learn the language because they dont have to since they are getting paid for doing nothing.

Also why doesnt the article explore the migration board side of this story ?
13:43 October 18, 2011 by StockholmSam
Awful. Anyone who works at Migrationsverket should be embarrassed and ashamed over this.
14:12 October 18, 2011 by 4254
everybody who wants to ask practical questions on the matter should first read previous article:

http://www.thelocal.se/35984/20110906/
14:47 October 18, 2011 by Opinionfool
@4254

Thanks for the reminder of the original article. As I read that it seems that this 90 year old has not been dependent on her child until very recently. So in that respect the law should be followed, she isn't truly dependent on a Swedish resident and therefore ought to return to her native country.

While lots of other commenters are saying how heartless the Swedish authorities are, what about the heartlessness of her child who seeks to keep her away from her roots and, presumably, the grave of her dead husband. One of the worse things that can be done to someone with dementia is to change their surroundings, it only adds to their confusion and distress.

Her family are being as heartless themselves but cutting her off from her culture and her people. If they really cared for her and believe that she does not have long to live they should move back to Ukraine with her and care for her there.
15:00 October 18, 2011 by bubbagump
@Abe L and Cornvinus - Apparently you are missing the fact that her family who is here in Sweden and who are citizens of this country are also paying taxes. I love how people always think that they're the only one paying taxes and that their "personal" amount is somehow covering someone elses expense. So although her entire family is here and Swedish Tax payers, screw the Grandma, is that it? You might have had an argument if it was a large family who were excempt from paying taxes. Not the case here.

Second, what if the family had offered to pay for privat hälsförsäkring for the Grandmother? Then there'd be no bidrag in this case. What then? Would you allow her to stay then if treated in only private swedish hospitals under her private health insurance? If your answer is yes, then I pitty you. For a few thousand kronor (not yours by the way) you'd be willing to cast out a 90 year old who's entire family is Swedish.

Unbelievable. And Opionfool, you've lost the plot.
16:17 October 18, 2011 by budaboy
@ bubbagump

I am with you all the way, heck, i will pay for her private health insurance the first year if she gets to stay.
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