Today, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the situation with the coronavirus in the country remains difficult and “it is too early to talk about a complete victory over it.” The head of the Cabinet was lying or did not know: the news from the regions testifies to an acute crisis.
“We’re in hell with medical help.”
Yesterday a group of doctors from Kurgan applied to President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova with an open letter that became a cry for help. Doctors called the situation with the coronavirus in the region “catastrophic” and blamed the authorities of the Kurgan region for this, which did not take proper measures, but at the same time underestimate the statistics of cases and keep silent about the problem. Every day, an ambulance goes to 500-700 patients with COVID-19, while only 75 people are officially reported infected per day.
According to doctors, there are uncontrolled outbreaks of infection at all enterprises in the city, hospitals are overloaded, and the shortage of medical personnel is so great that people have to wait for an ambulance for days. Doctors asked to send military doctors to Kurgan, “until the people began to die right in the streets.”
“We ask you not to assess the situation from the words of our officials, but to send a commission to the region so that its members can see firsthand what kind of hell is going on with medical assistance to the population during a pandemic,” the letter says.
Today, the Ministry of Health, represented by Assistant Minister Alexei Kuznetsov promised Kurgan region “comprehensive support” in the fight against the pandemic. “A group of specialists has been sent to the region to provide organizational and methodological support for setting up routing and treatment of patients with COVID-19 and provide practical assistance to patients,” the official said. The official did not specify which specialists would help the Kurgan doctors and the timing of their arrival.
Reports that hospitals are literally drowning in the “second wave” of coronavirus come not only from Kurgan. Doctors do not hide: it’s all about optimizing the health care system, which even before the pandemic caused many problems, and the coronavirus only revealed all its vulnerabilities. For example, there is an acute shortage of beds and staff. Today the independent medical trade union “Alliance of Doctors” circulated in social networks, a photo from the Kuibyshev city hospital (Novosibirsk region), where patients with COVID-19 are placed right on the stairs.
“There is not enough space not only in the wards, but also in the corridors. In Novosibirsk itself it is not better either. In one of the city hospitals, the patients were placed in the operating room, ”the union officials report, noting that the regional Ministry of Health recognizes the problem,“ but they can’t do anything except what has been done. ”
“Everyone is in corpses, we have to walk over our heads”
The coronavirus has revealed another longstanding problem that has long been invisible to the general public: an acute crisis in the system of forensic medical examination. Monstrous working conditions, bureaucracy, low salaries – all this caused massive layoffs of pathologists long before the pandemic. As a result, shocking photos of body bags on stairs and in basements of Russian hospitals. The dead from the coronavirus do not have time to open, and their relatives are not given bodies due to quarantine.
Similar messages arrived from the Rostov region in mid-October, a week later – from Barnaul. Soon, a video filmed in Novokuznetsk appeared on the network: judging by the footage, dozens of bodies, wrapped in polyethylene, lie in the hospital corridor.
“There is a blockage in the corridor. All in corpses. We have to walk over our heads, ”the author of the video comments.
Experts have no doubt that a similar situation is developing in most regions and will only get worse in the future. A source close to the forensic medical examination bureau of one of the Russian regions told MedPortal on condition of anonymity that the volume of autopsies in October increased by about 50% compared to September. The high mortality rate is associated not only with the coronavirus: people with heart attacks, strokes and other acute conditions die without waiting for an ambulance.
how reported URA.Ru source in the Perm Regional Bureau of Forensic Medicine, the workload on pathologists has increased, but earnings have decreased due to the introduction of reducing factors.
“Instead of the required 33 examinations per month, a specialist conducts about 130 examinations, and his official salary is 22-25 thousand rubles a month,” said the agency’s interlocutor.
“Lack of drugs will throw Russian oncology back decades”
The pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to the care of cancer patients, including palliatives. Due to restrictions and quarantines in Russian hospitals, planned operations and treatment were postponed for months, and hospices were forced to tighten the rules. As the senior coordinator of the Vera Foundation and the head of the palliative program of the Advita Foundation (For Life) Yekaterina Ovsyannikova told MedPortal, most palliative patients in St. Petersburg in the spring faced the fact that the prescription period for potent opioid analgesics took weeks.
“The availability of pain relief decreased, and this led to people suffering from terrible pain,” Ovsyannikova told MedPortal.
On the eve of the charitable foundations providing assistance to patients with cancer, sent to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and other top officials of the state open letter, which reported on the catastrophic situation with drugs for the treatment of cancer patients, including children. They cited data according to which medical facilities report a “critical shortage of 26 essential anticancer drugs.” At the same time, it was not expensive drugs that disappeared, but inexpensive drugs that have been basic for the treatment of such patients for decades.
It is noteworthy that this problem is connected, to a greater extent, not with the pandemic, but with “import substitution games”, with which, according to the authors of the letter, the government “overstepped”, leaving the only manufacturer of such drugs in the whole country. Due to the rise in prices amid the pandemic, foreign pharmaceutical substances have become too expensive. Essential medicines have simply disappeared from pharmacies, and people are forced to buy them abroad at their own peril and risk.
“If urgent action is not taken, the resulting shortage of medicines will soon lead to the death of thousands of people,” the authors of the letter warned the head of state.
Kommersant applied to the Ministry of Health with a request and received a comment that the situation “is under control” and now the department “collects information on the current needs of the regions for prompt delivery to the most problematic subjects.”