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Second Russian Doctor Falls From Hospital Window Amid Coronavirus

Natalia Lebedeva, the chief EMS officer at a cosmonaut training center outside Moscow, plunged to her death Friday. Alexander Ryumin / TASS

A second Russian doctor has fallen from a hospital building in a week as the country's health system continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, with authorities ruling her death a tragic accident.

Natalia Lebedeva, the chief EMS officer at a cosmonaut training center outside Moscow, plunged to her death Friday from the window of a hospital room where she was placed with Covid-19 symptoms earlier last week. 

“Natalia Lebedeva tragically died in an accident on April 24,” the Federal Micro-Biological Agency (FMBA), her employer, said in a statement Monday.

The FMBA said it was investigating Lebedeva’s death jointly with Russia’s Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes.

Unconfirmed reports citing her colleagues suggested that Lebedeva may have taken her own life after facing accusations of allowing a Covid-19 outbreak to spread among the cosmonaut training center’s medical staff. Lebedeva reportedly contracted Covid-19 from Star City colleagues she had helped hospitalize. 

News of Lebedeva’s death comes days after the chief doctor of a repurposed coronavirus hospital in Siberia fell from the hospital’s fifth-floor window following talks with health officials. Yelena Nepomnyashchaya, who allegedly opposed admitting Covid-19 patients due to protective equipment shortages and a lack of training among staff, was said to be in critical condition.

Lebedeva’s name appears alongside 71 other Russian and Belarussian doctors who have died from coronavirus-related complications in an unofficial list compiled by their colleagues mistrustful of official figures. 

Russia’s space chief said 111 space industry workers have been infected with Covid-19 as of Monday, three of whom have died.

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