Three health care workers working on the frontline in Russia have mysteriously fallen out of windows over the past two weeks. It’s not confirmed how or why this happened but two of those medical workers are confirmed dead, and the lucky survivor is currently hospitalized.
Alexander Shulepov, an ambulance doctor in Voronezh is in critical condition after falling from a hospital window. He fell out of a second-floor window of the Novousmanskaya hospital, where he is employed. At the time he was also being treated for the coronavirus which he contracted while working on the frontline without proper personal protective gear (PPE).
Shulepov went to social media to expose his situation. He and his colleague Alexander Kosyakin posted a video online saying that Shulepov had been forced to continue working after testing positive for coronavirus.
Kosyakin who had also previously criticized hospital administration for the lack of protective gear on social media was questioned by the police for allegedly spreading what they deemed as fake news.
Kosyakin confirmed these details to CNN in an interview.
“[Shulepov] is an intensive care unit, as far as I know in a serious condition, last time I spoke to him was on the 30th of April, we checked in with each other,” Kosyakin told CNN. “He felt fine, he was getting ready to get discharged from the hospital … and all of a sudden this happened, it’s not clear why and what for, so many questions that I don’t even have the answer to.”
What the other side had to say…
On the other side of the argument, the Novousmanskaya hospital said in a statement that Shulepov was taken off his shift as soon as he informed the hospital administration about testing positive for coronavirus and was immediately hospitalized.
Three days later, Shulepov retracted his previous statements, saying that in his video with Kosyakin he was “overwhelmed by emotions.” The second video Shulepov recorded featured Igor Potanin, the head doctor of the Novousmanskaya hospital, who said his medical staff has enough protective equipment.
“I spoke about this to the department’s employees: I won’t let anyone go to outpatients or inpatients if we don’t have enough means of protection, I told them I’d go myself there, but I will not send anyone,” Potanin said.
Shulepov was the third health worker in Russia to fall out of a window in the past two weeks.
On May 1, Elena Nepomnyashchaya, the acting head doctor of a hospital in Krasnoyarsk, died after spending a week in intensive care.
Local TV station TVK Krasnoyarsk reported at the time that Nepomnyashchaya fell from the hospital’s fifth-floor window following talks with health officials, during which they discussed turning the clinic into a coronavirus facility.
Nepomnyashchaya was reported to have been against the idea because of protective gear shortages in the hospital. But the Health Ministry’s regional health department denied the allegations.
On April 24, Natalya Lebedeva, head of the emergency medical service at Star City, the main training base for Russia’s cosmonauts, suffered a similar fate. Unconfirmed reports citing her colleagues suggested that Lebedeva may have taken her own life after facing accusations of allowing a Covid-19 outbreak to spread among the cosmonaut training center’s medical staff. Lebedeva reportedly contracted Covid-19 from Star City colleagues she had helped hospitalize.
The hospital within the Federal Biomedical Agency, which says it treated her for suspected coronavirus, released a statement that “a tragic accident” occurred, without elaborating.
So far, there are around 71 other Russian and Belarussian doctors who have died from coronavirus-related complications in an unofficial list compiled by their colleagues mistrustful of official figures.
In these difficult times, we should look for ways to protect medical workers who are working on the frontline. It’s truly a great loss to see so many health care professionals pass away due to mysterious events.