Doctor falls from 5th floor window during conference call to bosses arguing about lack of PPE for medics
A top Russian doctor fell 50 feet from her office window during a conference call where she was informed that her hospital would have to start accepting patients suffering from Covid-19.
Dr Yelena Nepomnyashchaya, 47, who runs the Krasnoyarsk Regional Hospital for War Veterans, was reportedly against the move because of an "acute shortage" of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses that meant they were not prepared to fight the pandemic.
The horrific incident unfolded while she was on a call with Krasnoyarsk regional Minister of Health Boris Nemik and was told that 80 beds in one section of her hospital would have to put aside to treat the novel coronavirus patients.
She is believed to be fighting for her life in intensive care after the fall from the 5th floor, though the doctors and medical professionals who are treating her have refused to talk about her survival chances.
While it is still unclear how she fell out of the window, the regional Ministry of Health has claimed it had nothing to do with her conversation with Nemik and that her hospital had been ready to accept Covid-19 patients.
Aleksey Podkorytov, the deputy head of the Krasnoyarsk region's government, claimed that there could be any number of explanations for the tragedy, including stress from other sources or family problems.
"So many things could have happened," he said. "It could have been because it was Spring, the overall stress, something in her family. It's difficult to say what could have happened."
"There was nothing extraordinary happening at the time, just a routine conference call with doctors' reports," he continued. "If we were to fail after each routine conference call this would have not led to anything good."
Podkorytov also addressed the rumors that Dr Nepomnyashchaya's fall had something to do with her hospital being forced to accept Covid-19 patients and insisted there was no credence to such allegations.
"At the time (of the accident) there were no patients with coronavirus, yet the hospital was on high alert with all necessary equipment in place," he said. "She just reported that there were no coronavirus patients."
"They in fact started to be admitted into the hospital, but only a very few with the lightest form of the virus."
While police are investigating the case and the circumstances surrounding Nepomnyashchaya's fall, the 47-year-old was reportedly not the only doctor to have taken such drastic measures because of the outbreak.
A doctor who had contracted the virus while treating patients at Russia's Star City, where the country's cosmonauts are trained, died after she fell from a hospital window.
Natalya Lebedeva is believed to have been directly involved in the treatment of the city's "patient zero" — one of the heads of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.
She was the head of the emergency department at the Medical-Sanitary Unit No 2 in Star City and was accused of causing an outbreak after many health workers linked to her tested positive for Covid-19 as well.
Russian media reported that Lebedeva had been blamed for not taking "sufficient measures to ensure the safety of her employees which resulted in infecting several health workers."