The mum of an 11-year-old bone cancer victim has been accused of splashing out donation money on a luxury lifestyle during the tragic youngster’s final days.
Croatian youngster Lana Bendelja was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma (bone tumour) in 2018 and her case became well known in the country when her mother Marijana Prpic apparently refused to let her daughter be treated with chemotherapy.
Prpic said she wanted her daughter to be treated abroad and said at the time: “I still claim that it (chemotherapy) is not medication. The composition that chemotherapy has is not medication.”
Ten days after the diagnosis the mother reportedly started a Facebook page to appeal for donations and claimed that her daughter needed medication that is not available in Croatia.
However, doctors in Croatia claimed that osteosarcoma is treated there in the same way as in other European countries, so they reported the mother to Social Services and the Ministry of Health whilst continuing to treat Lana without her mother’s approval.
Director of the Clinic for Children’s Diseases Goran Roic said at the time: “The termination of the treatment and the nature of the disease in the minor patient would be detrimental for the patient.”
He explained that the treatment was fully covered by health insurance and even if that was not the case the hospital could have helped so donations were not necessary.
However, the mother was meanwhile accepting donations and did not cooperate with the medics while the girl was still receiving treatment in the hospital, according to local media.
The unnamed father of the girl, who the mother was reportedly stopping from seeing his child, started a court procedure asking for an independent decision to be made on his daughter’s treatment.
The mother took the girl to Germany for surgery and reports claim she rented a flat in Germany from 1st February 2019 until 1st April 2019.
The girl is said to have stayed in the flat without visiting a doctor or receiving chemotherapy after the surgery and after their return to Croatia she was taken urgently to hospital in May, where she was diagnosed with metastasis.
She died on 8th July.
The mother’s former boyfriend and father of Lana’s half-sister Ivica Seretinek claims that she used the money from the donations for her personal shopping, saying: “I already saw that she uses that card because her cards and accounts were blocked.”
One of the mother’s acquaintances, who has not been named but has reported her to the authorities three times, said: “The mother used the money for the little girl to pay for luxuries and some of her debts, and least of all the girl.”
She explained that the mother took care of the social media so photos of her with the girl were always posted while she was actually somewhere else, adding: “Lana was a source of income for the mother. That is the most terrifying thing. The little girl was her mum’s source of income because that woman did not mention anything else but money.”
A source from the hospital in Croatia said: “I know it’s bad to talk about this, but when she comes here she obviously drinks something for sleeping and sleeps like a log for 12 or 13 hours. The little girl calls her, but she does not react. Then she doesn’t show up at all, and comes for half an hour to film a video and leaves.”
The mother has reportedly lost custody over her other children.
Lana’s father could not speak yet about the case which he reported but he reportedly hopes she will be punished.
The investigation is ongoing.
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