Doctors treating Russians after nuclear explosion in training site were not informed of incident
Five hospital staff workers, including senior doctors, told The Moscow Times that FSB agents had their colleagues sign non-disclosure agreements.
The three injured men arrived at the hospital around 4:30 pm, naked and wrapped in translucent plastic bags. The state of the patients made staff suspect they were dealing with something very serious. But the only information they had at the time was that there had been an explosion at a nearby military site around noon.
“No one — neither hospital directors, nor Health Ministry officials, nor regional officials or the governor — notified staff that the patients were radioactive,” one of the clinic’s surgeons told The Moscow Times by phone this week. “The hospital workers had their suspicions, but nobody told them to protect themselves.”
Men who suffered as a result of the explosion at the training ground were taken to a hospital in Arkhangelsk. After the explosion in the area of radiation increased dramatically, patients were also radioactive.
However, officials did not inform the hospital staff what case they were dealing with, which put them in danger. FSB agents ordered the employees of the facility to sign confidentiality clauses and forbade talking about the incident.
The Moscow Times journalists talked with the doctors of the clinical hospital in Arkhangelsk. They declare that hospital staff did not know that the wounded who were brought to the facility were irradiated. The brought men were naked and wrapped in transparent foil.
According to the daily, the authorities’ behavior resembles this after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Initially, it was said that the level of radiation did not rise, to announce after four days that the nearby village would be evacuated and later denied. However, the inhabitants of the region started buying iodine.
Hospital employees also suspected that the patients may be victims of the explosion, but no one – neither the hospital authorities, nor the Ministry of Health, nor the region’s authorities – reported that the men were irradiated and that the staff should be properly secured.
Doctors-informers said that FSB agents asked all those who had contact with patients from the training ground in the hospital to sign a confidentiality clause and thus could not speak on this subject. “They were not forced to sign them, but when three FSB agents come with a list of names and ask them to sign a contract, few would refuse,” they said.
Hospital staff prepared a list of questions for representatives of the Ministry of Health who visited the hospital on August 12, but none of them was given a clear answer. The ministry also did not want to talk to journalists. Doctors were only offered a trip to Moscow for tests. About 60 doctors and several rescuers took advantage of the offer. The first group flew to Moscow a few hours after the meeting.
At least one person has cesium-137 and uranium-235 isotopes found in the muscular system. However, their doctor was not told what their concentration was. Radioactive cesium-137 is the most common isotope in the so-called Zonie, i.e. the area closed after the Chernobyl disaster. At the same time, the expert in an interview with the journal noted that cesium-137 could have been washed away from patients and protected from infection before, but the staff could not know about it.
After two groups flew to Moscow, the rest of the flights were canceled. It was decided that experts would fly to Arkhangelsk.
File Photo Local residents watch explosions at a military ammunition depot some six miles away from a city of Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk area, 05 August 2019, issued 06 August 2019. Reports by the Emergenicies Ministry stating about 12 people were injured during the explosions. EPA-EFE/DMITRY DUB