December 5, 2021

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Russian man sneaks into COVID ward to care for grandma

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**Broadcasters: NONE. Digital: NONE*~Worried that medical staff was neglecting his grandmother in the hospital with COVID-19, this Russian man snuck into her ward disguised as a doctor to take care of her himself, and he filmed the whole thing.Sergei, who declined to give his last name, says he put on protective clothing outside the hospital in the Siberian city of Tomsk and then walked inside, where he looked after her for three days, giving her food and pills and cleaning up after her.His clandestine operation comes as hospitals in the region grapple with a wave of cases that have pushed the one-day pandemic death toll to all-time highs. Local authorities say they are investigating his complaints.Sergei, who told his story in an interview on Russian television this week, says he was spurred into action after other patients told him that his grandmother was being neglected by medical staff. TOMSK RESIDENT, SERGEI (NO SURNAME GIVEN): “I came (to the hospital) and said why is my grandmother not fed, why is she in that condition. They said that everything is fine. I asked if I could sign some papers to take care of her myself. But they said that it’s not allowed.”Sergei contemplated going to the police after being turned away, but instead decided to take matters into his own hands. SERGEI: “(They came to her) only when I said: ‘I’m a doctor. Hurry, clean up, help her’. I mean, I cleaned everything up after her. There was only one person who helped. I know his name, but I don’t know his surname, and I won’t name his title in the hospital.”Sergei said that after three days of tending to his grandmother he was finally caught on Sunday, after she was transferred to a different ward. Alyona Levko, a deputy regional governor in Tomsk, said a local commission has been assembled to investigate the incident. DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF TOMSK REGION IN CHARGE OF SOCIAL POLICIES, ALYONA LEVKO: “A commission has been set up to assess this situation. It includes representatives of the health department, Russian health and safety watchdog experts, and Russian healthcare watchdog. Now they are in the medical unit and an inspection is underway.”Tomsk Hospital did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.SERGEI: “It’s not an isolated case. Many people are affected…”Since the interview on Russian television, Sergei told Reuters that he has received anonymous threats. He says he is now trying to file complaints about the conditions at the hospital with law enforcement.

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