Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russia to Probe Virus Deaths Caused By Oxygen Shortage

At least 13 coronavirus patients were reported to have died when their oxygen supply ran out at a hospital in southern Russia. Vladimir Gerdo / TASS

At least 13 coronavirus patients were reported to have died when their oxygen supply ran out at a hospital in southern Russia last week. 

Russia’s health watchdog said Wednesday that its affiliate in the Rostov region was looking into the reports that the patients died due to a lack of oxygen in their hospital on Oct. 12. The Kremlin said it was confident that regional authorities would conduct an urgent investigation into the “alarming” report.

“Oxygen was lacking constantly, but [that day] we didn’t have it for two hours on all floors,” an unnamed senior health official told Rostov-on-Don’s 161.ru news website. 

“Even those who had oxygen were gasping for air like fish thrown out of the water,” the official in the city 1,000 kilometers south of Moscow said.

Health authorities said an autopsy would determine the causes of the patients’ deaths, five of whom were reported to be in intensive care. 

An unnamed hospital worker told 161.ru that some of the patients “would have died anyway” from complications, but added that at least three of them could have been saved had oxygen been still available.

The outlet reported, citing medics, that this was not the first time that patients died at the Rostov-on-Don City Hospital No. 20 after oxygen supplies ran out. Hospital staffers have to regularly redistribute the oxygen among its critical patients, 161.ru reported.

Rostov-on-Don’s administration acknowledged the rising number of Covid-19 hospitalizations but denied that lack of oxygen was to blame for the 13 deaths on Oct. 12.

“There were no emergencies with oxygen supplies on those days that could have led to the patients’ deaths,” the city’s deputy mayor for social issues Yelena Kozhukhova said.

On Thursday, the Rostov region’s administration said medical oxygen suppliers are meeting local hospitals’ needs and are running a surplus.

The Rostov region is Russia’s sixth most-affected federal subject with 27,840 total Covid-19 cases and 704 deaths confirmed by the national coronavirus information center. 

Russia has reported record numbers of new infections and deaths over the past week as disease experts warn that its regions could see a second wave that is 10 times worse than the first.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more