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Russian medics punished for speaking out about PPE shortages

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Russian medics who speak out about shortages of PPE are being punished by their superiors, and face a hostile public as well, according to new reporting.

Doctors talking to Associated Press (AP) said that they face pressure from superiors as well as law enforcement for going public about working conditions that put them in danger. 

Russia is the second worst-affected country in the world after the. It has reported over 300,o00 cases to date. Its rate of newly-reported cases started to decline, but it still reported around 8,800 on Wednesday alone. 

One intensive care specialist, Dr. Tatyana Revva, told the AP that her own hospital reported her to police after she made a video about equipment shortages.

She said she was questioned for “spreading false information.” Revva’s hospital disputes both her claim about police intervention and that she had too little PPE. 

Another medic, blood transfusion specialist Dr. Irina Vaskyanina, told the AP that she is among a group of 13 who quit their jobs due to insults and threats from their superiors when they complained about working conditions.

Hundreds more have done the same nationwide, the AP reported. 

russia coronavirus ppe hospital

Medical specialists talk in an intensive care unit of the Lomonosov University Clinic in Moscow, Russia May 20, 2020.

Andrei Nikerichev/Moscow News Agency/Handout via Reuters


In May, three medical workers fell from hospital windows, in incidents which killed two and put the third in a critical condition.

The falls prompted widespread speculation of a sinister motive, as two of the medics were outspoken critics of Russia’s coronavirus response.

A report released Tuesday found that Russia has one of the world’s worst-hit medical sectors, with doctors 16 times more likely to die of the virus than in comparable countries, as Business Insider’s James Pasley reported

The official count of healthcare workers to die of COVID-19 is somewhere between 70 and 186, the AP reported — which would still be a large figure by international standards.

However, healthcare workers have compiled their own list of deaths resulting from Covid-19 that numbers more than 250, the AP said. 

While many countries worldwide have begun a tradition of public displays of appreciation for healthcare workers during the crisis, there is a strain of mistrust in Russia, AP reported. 

Social anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova told the AP there are over 100 conspiracy theories relating to medics, who are associated with officialdom.

The theories blame medics either for purportedly covering up the crisis or for exaggerating the numbers to secure extra funding, Arkhipova said. 

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