Probe launched after ‘corpse waiting in queue’ reported in Russian hospital

© Alexey Malgavko
Police have launched an investigation after a dead man was discovered in a hospital “queue” in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. Conflicting reports have arisen about when and where the 34 year old, said to have been ill with pneumonia, actually died.

Reports about a man dying in the Rostov Region of southwestern Russia while allegedly waiting in line to be treated started to appear on social media on Tuesday. An unnamed female witness quoted by the local news website said she saw a corpse literally sitting in a queue.

The woman allegedly noticed the dead man after she asked who the last person in the queue was: “People pointed at the man with a mask sitting in the corner. But it turned out, he was dead – his hands were of green-bluish color.” The report claimed that even after doctors realized that the man was dead, they refused to immediately do anything about it.

Meanwhile, local police said they had received a message earlier on Tuesday reporting that an ambulance had brought a man believed to be sick with pneumonia to the hospital’s reception ward. The man died while waiting for admission, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Rostov Region told the media.

The Healthcare Department of Rostov-on-Don dismissed the reports, saying that the man had not died in the queue. The head of the department, Nadezhda Levitskaya, told the media that the ambulance had received a call from the sick man at 8:36 am and promptly dispatched an emergency unit to him. Upon examination, it was determined that he was in a critical state.

“The man was immediately brought to the hospital, where he suddenly passed away,” Levitskaya said. “In particular, it was found, that he had been sick for over a month, had not requested any medical help, nor received any treatment. It has also been determined that the man had just got out of a detention facility.”

Following the incident, the hospital’s medical staff handed information over to the police and forensic-medical authorities in order for them to determine the cause of his death, the official added.

Amid the outcry that surfaced in the media alleging neglect, the Rostov Region’s Investigative Committee has been carrying out a preliminary probe into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“According to preliminary data, the man was brought by an ambulance team to the hospital’s admission room to a city hospital №4 in Rostov, where after a relatively short time he passed away. No signs of violence have been spotted during the examination,” the Investigative Committee said in an official statement.