The state propaganda boasts about the success of Belarusian medicine almost every day. The other day, the media wrote that the average salary of doctors has increased to 2,300 rubles (794 euros). However, this still does not compare with the earnings of doctors in neighbouring Poland and Lithuania. That is why qualified doctors strive to Europe. Talented specialists, ready to work in Belarus, but do not support Lukashenka, are squeezed out by the hospital management. Those loyal to the illegitimate government are not always able to help the patient – as a result, medical errors occur when healthy people become terminally ill due to improper actions. This week we will talk about Belarusians suffering from various diseases. And let’s start with a story about the medical mistakes of Belarusian doctors.
In 2014, sixth-grader Stas Mushatenko from the Dubrovno district was spending his holidays in a children’s camp. While riding on a swing, a teenager broke his arm. He came to the hospital in Orsha, where doctors put his arm in a cast. The boy spent the weekend at home, his temperature rose, and he had to call an ambulance. At an appointment with a local doctor in Dubrovno, Stas got photographed. Then, the doctor said that the plaster was applied correctly, and the temperature could last for a month. The next day, the cast was finally released, and the boy felt a little better. And then the mother saw that her son’s hand was all black. The family decided to amputate it in Vitebsk. Stas’s mother wrote applications to the Department of the Investigative Committee for the Vitebsk region, the regional Prosecutor’s Office, the State Control Committee, the Ministry of Health and the Presidential Administration. However, only the doctor from Dubrovno, Yuri Kirichenko, got punishment for the lost arm. He said that the plaster had to be unclenched in the first hours after the application, not a few days later when it was too late. Yuri got deprived of the right to work as a doctor, but they did not send him to prison – he was granted amnesty in connection with the 70th anniversary of the end of the Great Patriotic War.
In 2017, a teacher from Bobruisk, Tatiana Begunovich, became a victim of doctors. In October, she went to the clinic complaining of bone pain. The woman told the doctor that three months ago, a tick bit her. She has not prescribed a blood test but instead began to be treated for rheumatism. Meanwhile, she already had a characteristic Lyme borreliosis spot on her body. Tatiana turned to a dermatologist, who identified Lyme disease in the woman, gave a referral for a blood test and recommended contacting an infectious disease specialist. Doctors sent a resident of Bobruisk to the Minsk hospital, where she spent three weeks. Due to the severe health deterioration, Tatiana got deprived of part of the workload at work, and her salary became less. However, the teacher turned to the court and achieved the restoration of her rights and material compensation. After treatment, she began to have serious heart problems. Tatiana Begunovich appealed to the prosecutor’s office with a statement about the negligence of doctors, but she got refused.
In early February 2018, Viktor, a young father who went to the hospital with a seemingly trivial problem, died in Minsk. The 27-year-old man was worried about headaches for a long time, and he turned to a doctor. It turned out that his sinus was clogged due to sinusitis, and there were polyps and curvature of the nasal septum. In January, Viktor went to the hospital for surgery. After it, he sent his wife Natalia a photo with a smudge on his right eye and a bandage. He didn’t get in touch again. Natalia called the doctors and found out that Victor had a brain haemorrhage. But the doctors didn’t say that the guy fell off the gurney in the emergency hospital, got a traumatic brain injury and broke his frontal bone. But they mentioned Viktor’s mental disorder and partial paralysis. The man’s temperature rose, but the doctors said that his organism was fighting the disease. Natalia arrived at the hospital and saw a smudge on the sheet – it turned out that cerebrospinal fluid was flowing through her nose. Victor complained of a headache and unpleasant sensations in his ear. And four days later, the young man died. Only the surgeon who operated on him got punished for his death.
In February 2018, a resident of Gomel, Sergey Bashmur, went to a picket of deputy candidate Yulia Ganisevskaya, where he told about a medical error that caused the death of his newborn son. Little Misha died in July 2017, having lived only six days. The boy was born healthy, and on the second day of his life, his temperature rose. Doctors brought the child to the intensive care unit. There, he died. The maternity hospital diagnosed intrauterine infection. These explanations did not satisfy the father of the deceased boy. The Investigative Committee refused to open a criminal case on the fact of the boy’s death. The check showed that there were no violations in the actions of doctors. And there are still no details about the death of the baby. In the regional maternity hospital, a separate children’s intensive care unit appeared after the incident. Its head left his position. However, this, of course, will not help to return the child to the parents.
In July 2018, Mikhail Balanovich, a resident of the Stolin district, died due to a medical error. A 61-year-old man felt a sharp pain in his right side, called an ambulance, and doctors took him to the hospital of the district centre. However, the whole day the patient got only examined without doing anything to ease the pain. Mikhail asked his wife to take him to the Pinsk hospital. Here, surgeons, therapists, a neurologist came to him – he established the diagnosis of intercostal neuralgia. Mikhail was given medicines and sent home, and at night his temperature rose. An ambulance brought him to the Pinsk Central Hospital, but they did not hospitalize him and sent him home again. The man became ill again and had to come to the Stolin hospital. The next day, he could not get out of bed. Then his condition worsened so much that he was taken to the intensive care unit – doctors suspected sepsis. And two more days later, a healthy and strong man died. Only after his death, doctors detected purulent spinal epidurals. Mikhail Balanovich’s wife wrote complaints to Stolin and Pinsk hospitals. There were checks, but the commission didn’t reveal any facts of negligence and unskilled medical care.
In July 2019, a tragedy happened in the Kunevich family from the village of Troshchitsy in the Korelichi district – 26-year-old Mikhail Rishtovsky, who had been suffering from stomach cancer for the past months, died. Despite the oncology, he was taken into the troops and was commissioned only after cancer in the fourth stage with numerous metastases discovery. Even before the army, Mikhail suffered from health problems: abdominal pain, pus in small wounds. Blood tests indicated illness, but despite them, Mikhail had to go to serve. In the military unit, he was constantly in the hospital. Doctors gave him painkillers and said that Mikhail was “mowing down” from the service. No one paid attention to the complaints and sent the soldier to analyses. Only when he vomited from one glass of water, doctors let him go to Minsk. Here he was diagnosed with cancer of the last stage, but in conclusion, military doctors wrote that it appeared during the year in army. Meanwhile, the guy’s mom has no doubt: cancer could not develop into an incurable stage in one year. Besides, the military commissar of the Korelichi district told the conscript: “Whatever you do, you will go to the army.”
In January 2020, an 11-month-old resident of Pinsk, Miroslava Dydyshko, was diagnosed with HIV. All the close relatives of the baby – mother, father and four brothers – are healthy, passed the tests. Miroslava was born in 2019 with complications. She suffered a collarbone injury during childbirth and spent several weeks in a children’s hospital. Two months before the diagnosis, Miroslava became very ill. The course of treatment prescribed to the girl did not help, and in January 2020, she began to have seizures. The hospital conducted tests and determined that the girl had HIV. The family immediately excluded the household method of infection: there is not a single HIV infected person in the environment. The girl’s mother, Svetlana, wrote a statement to the Investigative Committee about medical negligence. The police initiated a criminal case on the improper performance of professional duties (Article 162 of the Criminal Code). The chief physician of the Pinsk Children’s Hospital, Nikolai Telyatitsky, commented on the circumstances. He stated the hospital itself is interested in resolving the situation as soon as possible.
On June 26, 2020, on his birthday, Minsk resident Dmitry was hospitalized. Doctors sent him to the ward of the portal hypertension department (surgical). His family congratulated him on his birthday, and when they tried to call the next day, they found that the phone was unavailable. His sister Natalia started calling the hospital where her brother was taken, but no one picked up the phone. Familiar hospital workers found out that Dmitry got discharged. However, he was nowhere to be found. The family decided to contact the police. Only on July 2, six days after hospitalization the police manage to find out that Dmitry died on June 27. At the same time, according to the documents Natalia received later, the relatives were aware of the death and even visited a conversation with the hospital administration. The doctors also allegedly informed the relatives of the deceased patient that he refused to install the probe. But they did not provide written confirmation of the refusal. Also, doctors said they do not have the right to acquaint relatives with a patient’s medical history. Natalia managed to get an epicrisis – it turned out that Dmitry arrived at the hospital in a very severe condition. But doctors did not send him to the intensive care unit. The man was lying in the coffin with a head injury, and no one explained where it came from.
The coronavirus pandemic has revealed all the flaws in the healthcare system of Belarus. To save stocks of equipment and protective equipment issued by the Ministry of Health and to pretend that Belarus is successfully fighting the coronavirus, doctors refuse to treat people and write the diagnosis “COVID-19” in the documents. On May 7, 2020, 36-year-old Leonid Milkovsky from Lida died. For the first time, the man became ill on April 19. The next day he was admitted to the hospital due to a cold, and three days later, he went to the polyclinic with a temperature of 38 degrees for an appointment. The picture showed that he had pneumonia, and he got admitted to the hospital. Here Leonid was only put in the temporary detention centre for the first three days, and only then the doctor came. Coronavirus tests were negative, but doctors transported him to a hospital converted for COVID-19 patients – to the intensive care unit. Here, the medicals put him into an artificial coma. The man died in the hospital. Doctors did not give him a plasma transfusion with antibodies, although his family insisted on it.
In December 2020, 13-year-old Mitya Konev from Minsk died of coronavirus. His family got sick with coronavirus in November 2020. Mitya’s mother and brother got this diagnosis. For this, they had to pass paid tests. But they did not take tests from Mitya, although he showed one of the symptoms of COVID-19 – loss of sense of smell. After self-isolation, Mitya went to school. And three weeks later, the child had a sore throat. A doctor visited the seventh-grader and diagnosed “angina”. Mitya had a high fever for several days – up to 40 degrees – but no one took him to the hospital. On Sunday, an ambulance visited the teenager, prescribed him antipyretic and antibiotics. The next day, Mitya began to feel sick, but the district doctor did not react. And then there were difficulties with breathing. The ambulance took the boy to the hospital, where Mitya was immediately connected to a ventilator. The next day Mitya died. The official diagnosis after death was cardiopulmonary insufficiency. But the boy had no problems with his heart and lungs. The Ministry of Health stated the death occurred after a multisystem inflammatory syndrome. This syndrome is a rare complication after a coronavirus.
Belarusians are increasingly becoming victims of the negligence of doctors, but there is usually no one to answer for this. Only in some cases, you can read about the trial of doctors – but these terms, most often not very strict, are not comparable to sentences given to protesters. It turns out that causing death to a person is much less scary than administering a yard chat, graffiti and performances with a white-red-white flag. However, dozens more people may die due to the fault of low-skilled doctors loyal to Lukashenka.