Third Russian doctor falls from window after criticizing working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic
Emergency physician Alexandr Shulepov fell from a second-story window at the hospital where he was recovering from the coronavirus, in the rural town of Novaya Usman (Voronezh Region). Shulepov had previously complained that he was being forced to work after becoming infected with COVID-19. He is now the third Russian doctor who has fallen from a window in the past two weeks.
Reports of Shulepov’s fall first emerged in the local publication Moyo!, which did not reference any particular source. Shulepov’s colleague, EMT Alexander Kosyakin, confirmed these reports for Meduza. Another local outlet, Vesti Voronezh, reported confirmation from the regional authorities, as well.
According to Moyo! and Vesti Voronezh, Shulepov fell from a second-story window during the night of May 2. He is now in intensive care with a fracture at the base of his skull and remains in critical condition. According to Kosyakin, Shulepov told him that he is being kept in one of the “infected” wings of the hospital.
Shulepov is an employee of the Novousmanskaya District Hospital. He was admitted to the same hospital following a coronavirus diagnosis, although he appeared to be asymptomatic. Shulepov had just recently had two coronavirus tests come back negative, and was about to be discharged.
On April 22, Shulepov and Kosyakin recorded a video, stating that the head doctor at the Novousmanskaya District Hospital had ordered them to continue working, even after Shulepov became infected with COVID-19. Shulepov later spoke to Meduza and confirmed that he had contracted the coronavirus, but asked that the rest of the conversation not be published for fear of backlash from the hospital administration.
On April 25, a video appeared on the news site Novaya Usman Segodnya, in which Shulepov claimed that he and Kosyakin had recorded the first video when they were “emotional.” In the same video, the hospital’s head doctor confirmed that the facility had enough personal protective equipment. The authorities later suggested that Shulepov contracted COVID-19 outside of the hospital.
Kosyakin had previously claimed that the hospital was lacking personal protective gear; an administrative case was reportedly opened against him for spreading false information about the coronavirus.
On 24 April, Natalya Lebedeva, the emergency medical services head for Zvyozdny gorodok (a town in the Moscow Region) died after falling from a window, REN TV reported. Lebedeva had been hospitalized with a suspected case of COVID-19. The official cause of death was deemed an accident, but the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets said that according to her colleagues, she committed suicide after being accused of infecting a number of her subordinates with the coronavirus.
On April 25, Elena Nepomnyashchaya, the acting head of the Krasnoyarsk Krai Hospital for War Veterans, also fell from a window. According to the television channel TVK, a source claimed that the incident took place after a conference call with the regional Health Ministry head, Boris Nemik, during which they discussed reprofiling one of the hospital’s buildings for receiving coronavirus patients. Nepomnyashchaya reportedly opposed the idea, due to the hospital’s lack of protective equipment and unprepared staff. Nemik later denied participating in the conference call in question. Nepomnyashchaya died in intensive care on May 1.