Russian Medical Student's Photos With Patients' Organs Prompt Outcry

Gulnaz Yalalova

A medical student in the Russian city of Kazan has landed in hot water after posting online photographs of herself holding the spleen of a patient who was seriously injured, news reports said Friday.

The intern's photographs, posted to her Instagram account, showed her holding up the spleen and smiling. The patient had sustained serious injuries after jumping from the eighth floor of an apartment building, according to Kazan news station KZN.

Tatarstan's online news portal Business Online published the photographs in question, as well as accompanying comments purportedly written by the intern, identified as 20-year-old Gulnaz Yalalova.

"This girl is 16 years old. She jumped from the eighth floor. She's schizophrenic. And weighs 125 kilograms," Yalalova allegedly wrote underneath the photograph of the spleen.

Yalalova posted photographs of the organs of other patients as well but disclosed less information about their medical histories. The photographs created an uproar on social media, prompting Yalalova to delete her Instagram account — but not before doctors at the medical institution where she studies had learned about the scandal.

"This is an appalling incident. There is a major operation under way, this woman fell from the eighth floor. The entire medical team is busy trying to save this person's life, and this student leaves the operating theater and takes photographs. Of course she will not be interning with us anymore!" Rustem Gaifullin, the head doctor at the hospital, was cited as saying by Business Online.

Zukhra Khisamutdinova, director of the Kazan Medical College where Yalalova is currently enrolled, said in comments to KZN that the student had told her the photographs were simply meant to demonstrate her professional progress.

But Khisamutdinova echoed Gaifullin's disapproval of the photos.

"What sort of progress can be meant? To blatantly, amorally demonstrate the organs to everyone. She didn't disclose [the patients'] surnames or other information, so officially patient confidentiality has been preserved," Khisamutdinova was cited as saying.

Yalalova has not been expelled from her university and will not face serious consequences, but will likely have to undergo psychological testing, according to online news portal Newsru.com.

Contact the author at a.quinn@imedia.ru

Read more